Increasingly, the scientific method is being used to support policy positions and to garner funding. It is, therefore, important to understand how to evaluate good science from bad so that we are not blinded from seeing the reality lurking behind what has been mistakenly termed as “science.”
The purpose of this two-part series is to offer a few tools to guide our consumption of research studies and to make clear when it is appropriate to follow the science, when we should proceed with caution, or when we should run in the other direction. This first part will define science, give a brief history of the scientific method, and highlight a few areas where errors or biases can be introduced in the research process. The second part will delve into the components of a research study and how to assess the rigor of an investigation.