There is a lot of the misinformation in popular media and press. This misinformation comes mostly from............................................................
Cherry-picking is when someone selects evidence that confirms their point of view. There may be a significant amount of evidence that contradicts this view, however, they use it as it suits their purpose. So it’s best to look at all the evidence rather than picking out the bits that make your point of view look good.
Research also has a lot of conflicting and contradicting results so it's often very easy to find evidence that suits your point of view especially if it's taken out of context.
Trying to work out if something you have read is true or not is tough. So we've put some tips together for you to work it out yourself. This takes practice and we'll talk more about how to do this in our upcoming courses and books.
We've put this into 3 simple steps for you to identify misinformation. In time, you will know where to go and how to get the information you need.
Qualifications: When you view a website or book etc., look to see if the writer has any qualifications for what they are writing about.
References: Does the author/s reference their information? This is very important as they must back up their claims with evidence that isn’t cherry-picked.
Valid: Do you think the information is valid? Have a look at the references they have provided and have a read. Does this evidence come from a reputable source (e.g. from a research journal rather than a wellness blog)?
It's all about becoming informed and empowered about your own health ask questions like:
What are the qualifications of the author(s)?
What is the evidence?
Is this information valid?
So how do you find the evidence?
There are a few good sites to go to for current evidence such as:
Google Scholar (https://scholar.google.com.au/) and
PubMed website (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/)
These two sites will provide you with the latest research on a topic that you are interested in. Don't be daunted by the fact they are research journals! We will also be adding to our What's New page about new research so if there's something you want to hear about then just send us a message.
The abstract (the first paragraph of the paper or journals as they are often called) and the conclusions (last paragraph) are often very easy to read. Some of the research papers are available for free and some are not so you may only be able to read the abstract. The abstract will still give you an overview of what the paper is about.
There are some other great resources such as Government Health websites, and websites of specific conditions (Diabetes Australia, CSIRO, Kidney Foundation, Cancer Council, Heart Foundation, Foodwatch, Nutrition Australia). It just depends on what information you are after. Dr Google is not your best option but Google may lead you to some reputable sites.
Once you find a site you like to go, back to the 3 steps we talked about above. Look at who started the site and who provides the content. Do they have any qualifications, are they experienced, are there references for what they have written?
You will learn how to discern what is and isn’t credible over time. These skills are important to have so you can understand your health, what you eat and how you can improve your health. It's empowering to have these skills and knowledge.