Each Healthonym article is backed by the results of multiple studies. And we’re very transparent about their quality.
Knowledge of both, quantity and quality of research, is critical.
QUANTITY OF RESEARCH
Imagine a basketball team for a moment. If the team won a game, was it luck or was it because they’re really good? You can’t possibly be sure from the results of just one game.
With very rare exception, neither can scientists be sure of anything from the results of just one study. One study might say blueberries cure cancer but another will say that they don’t. Which study is right?
Well, in order to figure out if a treatment is actually helpful or not, it’s better to combine the data from many studies together. This allows us to come up with a single, more reliable, estimate of a treatment’s effect on our health.
We’d do the same with basketball teams, of course. We’d combine their stats across many games in order to find out how good they really are.
The takeaway is this:
A treatment’s effect on your health is more credible when it’s backed by multiple studies.
But, there’s something else that’s very important.
QUALITY OF RESEARCH
The quantity (amount) of data you have on your team is one thing. Generally, the more the better, right?
But what if the quality of that data is poor? Maybe the people who collected the data did a bad job. A lot of bad data is still bad data.
So imagine that you have to do a presentation on your basketball team’s performance. Maybe all you have is bad stats to work with.
You can still combine those stats together. And you’ll come up with the best possible estimate about your team’s performance given that.
But if you’re going to be honest with your audience, you’d tell them that your estimates are based on poorly collected, or biased (error-prone), stats. It’s the best you can do until someone gathers better numbers in the future.
The same thing goes for scientific research.
Sometimes, scientists only have bad data to work with. With that, they’ll make the best estimate about a treatment’s effect on our health that they can.
Until better studies come out in the future, this is all they can do.
So, the important takeaway is this:
High quality research arms us with better data.
If the data comes from high quality research, then we can be very confident about a treatment’s effect on our health.
If the data comes from poor quality research, then we can’t be sure about a treatment’s effect on our health no matter how much data we have.
As a result, we make the quality of research obvious in every Healthonym article. We feel this is very important.
After all, knowledge about the quality of research/data helps us make better decisions about our health; with more honest expectations about whether a treatment might help us or not (and by how much).
HOW DO YOU DETERMINE THE QUALITY OF RESEARCH?
There’s more than one way to determine the quality of research (data). Moreover, all of the methods are partially subjective.
But at Healthonym, we don’t worry about this. We do not make any judgements about the quality of the research.
We leave all of that to the professionals, the scientists and researchers themselves.
We simply summarize their work and their conclusions about the quality of research for you.