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social, health, political imagery through the lens of George J Huba PhD © 2012-2019

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Health and other research does NOT PROVE or SHOW anything.

In a world of “statistically-based confirmation” of research hypotheses, a “significant” result that shows or proves something does not exist. A study — absent from methodological flaws, the wrong statistical tests, a small sample, and poor validity and reliability measurement — can SUGGEST or moderately suggest or weakly suggest that a preliminary theory MAY be supported.

Write or report on TV that a study “suggests” or “mildly suggests” a finding of interest to the public and you will be doing the public and science a huge favor, make your reporting more accurate, and help avoid false expectations or a skepticism that researchers have “proven” the obvious.

I know that you probably did not hear this in a statistics class in such a straight forward way. Scientists rarely do either.

Change one word and the public is better informed. SUGGESTS, not proves or shows.

Change that one word to “suggests it may be possible that” and you will be even more correct.