The Berkeley Initiative for Transparency in the Social Sciences has articles about research and where it can go wrong. See it now »
New Tip Sheets
A research medicine refresher
Presentations from Health Journalism 2007 will improve your understanding of medical statistics, research, and quantitative data. See it now »
New Resource Link
Making sense of studies on nutrition and supplements
Examine.com provides independent analysis of the latest research on nutrition and supplements. See it now »
Whether you’re a health reporting specialist or a general assignment reporter who is just picking up the health beat for the first time, covering a medical study can be a bit daunting. Most reporters got into journalism to nurse a love of words, after all. But reporters who cover medical research need to know as much about math as they do about language and storytelling. Often, the story is in the numbers. Good health reporters are also translators, turning the jargon-filled shorthand of science and research into language that average readers can grasp.
As dry and formal as medical studies may seem, they also have beating hearts. There are the researchers who may spend months or years conducting trials and tabulating and interpreting results to produce the final paper. There are patients who participated in clinical trials. There are the readers who will be affected by the information we communicate. There are doctors who have to figure out whether or even how to integrate new findings into patient care.
John Ioannidis, Professor of Medicine, Health Research and Policy, and Statistics, Stanford University, USA presents the 4th EQUATOR Annual Lecture on "Reporting and reproducible research: salvaging the self-correction principle of science".
Pamela Hartzband, M.D., talks about numbers and absolute and relative risk in drug ads.
Jerome Groopman, M.D., talks about how journalists should use anecdotes in their reporting and the power of health journalists in this talk from Health Journalism 2013 in Boston.
Pamela Hartzband, M.D., discusses the importance of being careful when reporting on medical studies and using absolute vs. relative numbers in this talk from Health Journalism 2013 in Boston.
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Upcoming events on Medical Studies from the AHCJ calendar.
Association of Health Care Journalists » Covering medical studies
Investigating the health impacts of fracking
The fracking controversy has been high profile in recent years, and tempers are short on all sides of the subject. Some groups see natural gas and the process used to extract it – hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking” – as a boon to energy production in the U.S., while others ...
Pew releases survey on interaction between scientists, public
On Sunday, the Pew Research Center released the results of a survey on the interaction between scientists, the media and the public. The survey revealed how scientists engage with the public, and how different demographics view scientific issues. Pew released the report in collaboration with the ...
SuperAger brains distinctly different than those of peers
Why do the brains of some older adults look very different than those of their peers? Scientists at Northwestern University say the answer may explain why these elders don’t suffer the same cognitive decline that affects other seniors. These so-called “SuperAgers,” all age 80 and older, have ...
Reporter shares lessons learned about questioning conventional wisdom
“The decision to remove wisdom teeth often seems like a routine part of young adulthood. But more people are starting to ask whether it’s always necessary,” Elise Oberliesen told readers of the Los Angeles Times in a recent story. “Those who oppose automatically taking out ...
Vapor from e-cigarettes triggers changes to cells in lab study
Electronic cigarettes, or e-cigarettes are growing in popularity among American adults, and while some states restrict their use by minors, nearly 1.8 million American middle and high school students reported using them one recent year, a federal study found. The battery-powered devices work by ...