Understanding Health Research: A tool for making sense of health studies

by Shona Hilton, Dame Sally Macintyre, Lindsay Murphy et al.
University of Glasgow, University of Oxford, University of Cambridge and the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, 2016


Understanding Health Research is a new online tool designed to help the public and patients understand and assess research papers. Every day we are hit with a barrage of health information from many different sources – friends, social media, newspapers, TV, magazines, and radio. A lot of this information seems to be based on scientific research but is contradictory, with scientists seeming to say, for example, coffee will give us cancer one week and coffee will keep us healthy the next. Not only can these mixed messages make it difficult for us to make healthy choices, it can also undermine public confidence in the usefulness of science. To help tackle this problem, the authors have developed a free online tool called Understanding Health Research, launched this month to support non-scientists through the process of understanding and interpreting health research papers.

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