This Chart Shows Why You Shouldn’t Trust Just One Scientific Study

This Chart Shows Why You Shouldn’t Trust Just One Scientific Study

We’ve all seen news stories that claim a “new study” has come out that shows some freshly-discovered factor causes or prevents cancer. In case you needed a reminder not to trust just one study, this chart demonstrates the spectrum that single studies can fall on.

As news site Vox explains, science is a complicated, often contradictory discipline. Individual studies don’t exist in a vacuum, and they can often have biases or flaws that render their findings less than accurate.

To illustrate the point, Vox put together the below chart that shows how, if you go by single studies, virtually everything you eat both causes and prevents cancer. It’s a helpful reminder that, while scientific research can be very beneficial to our lives, you have to view studies through the lens of the scientific process as a whole to truly understand what these findings mean.

Science is often flawed. It’s time we embraced that. [Vox]


  • More pertinently in this era, don’t trust any scientific-medical reporting from the mainstream press – most of them don’t have staff trained to present the material properly. The medical stuff seems to be handled by the Women’s/Lifestyle editor and the scientific stuff comes off the wire, indiscriminately edited for space.

  • It seems obvious to me that relying on a single study as the basis for your beliefs is begging to be fooled. This is the very reason that we tall about scientific consensus as a method for determining the realities of science. Also, people, don’t trust what others say just because they are a scientist. If their field doesn’t cover a particular topic and they are making comments about it, check their sources or ignore their opinion.

  • Pity the graphic only showed individual point estimates. Weighting and confidence intervals tell far more.

Show more comments

Comments are closed.

Log in to comment on this story!