How to read a scientific study

How do we know what the “truth” is? When it comes to health and fitness, people are often confused by what seems like conflicting research reported in the media. It seems like everything conflicts. Eat this. Don’t eat this. This will give you cancer. This will cure cancer. And so forth.

So how do you, an average schmoe, figure out who to believe? Well, a scientific background is helpful, but if you don’t have one, you use your common sense. Here are some helpful tips about how to read and interpret scientific research.

Rant 33 June 2006: Choose joy

A recent study examined people’s perceptions of control over their life choices. There was a substantial difference in perceptions of control depending on the health status of respondents. People who rated themselves as being in excellent health, scored an average of 20.0 on the mastery scale, compared to 16.1 for those who reported that their health was fair or poor.