The world of evidence based nutrition is underpinned by research. But this doesn’t mean that all research is created equal. There are many factors that influence the reliability and authenticity of a research paper. In this article we expel some of the key myths.
It’s published in the British Medical Journal (BMJ); therefore it must be reliable.
- This is a myth.
- Generally speaking, respected journals (e.g. BMJ) publish better quality research papers than smaller, more obscure ones. However, mistakes can occur in top quality research papers, so it’s important to still critically appraise a research paper to see if it’s reliable.
The author is well renowned in the industry; therefore it must be reliable.
- Another myth.
- Even if someone has a good reputation, it’s no guarantee that the results of the study can be trusted or used. Often research papers will be created across a team, each bringing their own skillset.
The study is funded by a food company; therefore it can’t be reliable.
- This is another myth.
- Although food companies often have a vested interest in sponsoring research, it doesn’t mean that the research isn’t trustworthy. A company will most likely want high quality research to prove that their product is as good as it says it is.
Before interpreting or following any research from a paper be sure to check the reliability.