What to ask an expert when evaluating scientific research

Five questions to ask experts when you’re evaluating scientific research for a news story. They come from the excellent Desk Guide for Covering Science, which is published by the Science Media Centre New Zealand and free to download.

  1. How does this study compare with others that have come before?
  2. How does it add to or contradict existing scientific views?
  3. Was the study well designed?
  4. Are the results compelling enough to recommend a change in our current behaviour/treatment/regulations?
  5. What would be the effect of such changes versus keeping things as they are?

This graphic on the scientific process, and when to report on it, is also in the Desk Guide for Covering Science.

Screengrab of SMCNZ Guidelines for Reporting on Science