Discussion Post

Measure your ability to identify and interpret mainstream research.


This week you have read about observational studies and the danger they present. In this week’s discussion board assignment, you will get to locate such a study and share it with your peers, explaining what makes it convincing but also identifying the problems. You will explain what changes you would suggest to correct the deficiencies in the observational study to move it further down the pathway to science. This exercise will help you build the skill of critical thinking regarding studies and results people try to pass off as scientific but that are not. As you gain this skill, you will be better able to avoid actions based on claims that others purport to be true but are not. This can save you time, money, frustration, etc. In some cases, being able to think critically in this way could keep you from harm or embarrassment. 

Action Items

  1. Review the videos from this week's key points as needed.
  2. Find an example of an observational study that looks or sounds scientific.
  3. In your post, explain what makes the study look or seem scientific.
  4. Also explain what the problems with the study are and some of the possible ramifications if you were to accept the claim(s) being made as true. Also briefly discuss what might happen if many people accepted the claim(s) being made as true.