"Be critical and take more than one number into account "
Michael Herzog, professor at EPFL and head of the psychophysics laboratory, gives some advice on how to read a scientific paper. The journal in which the scientific article is published, the statistics used and the reproducibility are all criteria to be taken into account when judging the quality of a publication.
As the pandemic has highlighted, it is easy to point to the findings of scientific research to support one's argument, or hold up statistic out of context. Any scientific publication must be approached with a "critical mind" and one should "always consider more than just one number", as neuroscientist Michael Herzog, who has studied philosophy, mathematics and biology, points out.
The quality of published researchs differs, even in high-ranking journals. While insiders know how to find their way around it, this is not necessarily the case for everyone who wants to get information about a scientific topic. In the video above, Herzog, who is a professor in psychophysics at EPFL, gives some advice on how to read a scientific paper.
This video is the final chapter of our Summer Series on How Science Works.