This piece originally appeared here in Journalist’s Resource from the Shorenstein Center for Media, Politics and Pubic Policy at Harvard University.
Recently, Journalist’s Resource attended Health Journalism 2019, the annual conference of the Association of Health Care Journalists (AHCJ), in Baltimore, Maryland. One of the sessions we attended, titled “Begin Mastering Medical Studies,” offered pointers for deciding which research is worth covering.
This tip sheet summarizes key points made by during the session by Tara Haelle, an independent health journalist and AHCJ topic leader for medical studies.
So many options, so little time.
With the amount of research published on a daily basis, journalists have to work to discern what’s worth covering. We’ve broken the process down into three steps as a general guide.
Step 1: Consider the category of the study.
As a starting point, Haelle suggested considering the category of the study you’re thinking of covering.
Generally, studies testing a medical intervention fall into one of the following categories:
Pre-clinical studies: This early phase of research precedes the clinical study phase. The research is not conducted with human subjects, so the findings are limited. There are two different kinds of pre-clinical studies: In vitro: These studies are conducted on cells grown in a lab. In vivo: These studies are conducted on non-human animals. Clinical studies: If research shows promise in the pre-clinical phase, it might move onto clinical studies, which involve humans and examine their responses to the intervention. Clinical studies can take two forms: Epidemiological/observational studies: Observational research, as the name suggests, involves observing ongoing behavior
Read more here: https://www.poynter.org/reporting-editing/2019/3-steps-to-determine-whether-a-medical-study-is-newsworthy/