10 steps for evaluating scientific papers

The Logic of Science

In the past few weeks, you have probably seen or heard claims that a new study has found that GMOs contain dangerous levels of formaldehyde; however, the reality is that the study itself is questionable at best, and the claims being made by anti-GMO activists are dangerously misleading. This situation illustrates the crucially important fact that not all scientific studies are equal. As I have previously explained, the peer-review system is good, but it isn’t perfect, and sometimes bad papers do get through. So you should always read scientific papers carefully and critically evaluate whether or not the paper can be trusted (regardless of whether or not the paper agrees with your preconceived views). Therefore, in this post, I am going to provide you with a rough guide for understanding scientific results.

I want to be clear from the start that, with a few exceptions (like #7 and possibly…

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