No. This Study Does Not Prove What You Think It Does.

In this three-part series, originally published in the Parents PACK newsletter, we addressed common misconceptions about the practice of science (and scientists) and used some specific examples to help you sort out the headlines and wade through your social media feeds. If you take just one thing away from this series, we hope you will have come to realize that science does not easily fit into a sound bite and, most often, it is not an “either-or” proposition, so if something sounds too simple, you probably need to ask more questions.

Topics covered in each part of the series

Part I: Skeptics & mavericks

Part 1 discusses some common misconceptions about science and scientists and includes the following sections:

  • There’s no such thing as “my science and your science”
  • Scientists are skeptics
  • Mavericks are rare
  • The takeaways

Go to  Part 1 of the series.

Download a PDF version.

Part II: Noble-worth science

Part 2 describes some studies that ultimately changed our understanding of previously accepted science. Offering links to the original studies, descriptions of the development of understanding about each topic and a relevant timeline, this segment discusses:

  • Australia antigen
  • Prions
  • Cause of ulcers

Go to Part 2 of the series.

Download a PDF version.

Part III: Misinterpreted science

Part 3 addresses some studies that were misinterpreted and looks at what aspects were at the heart of the confusion and why. Each featured paper is discussed in the following subsections:

  • Study
  • Brief summary
  • Misconception
  • Problem with interpretation

Go to Part 3 of the series.

Download a PDF version.

Resources for evaluating information

As you evaluate information and studies on your own, the following resources may be useful:

Reviewed on May 16, 2022

Materials in this section are updated as new information and vaccines become available. The Vaccine Education Center staff regularly reviews materials for accuracy.

You should not consider the information in this site to be specific, professional medical advice for your personal health or for your family's personal health. You should not use it to replace any relationship with a physician or other qualified healthcare professional. For medical concerns, including decisions about vaccinations, medications and other treatments, you should always consult your physician or, in serious cases, seek immediate assistance from emergency personnel.