Every day we encounter scientific claims in the news, online, and in adverts. But how do we know which ones to believe? How can we ensure that the choices we make around diet, health, environment, politics, and the products we buy are based on properly conducted research? One answer is to seek out evidence which has been ‘peer reviewed’.
What is peer review?
Peer review is when a researcher’s work is formally assessed by other independent experts in their field. Peer reviewers will check that any claims the scientist makes are justified by the results of their research. Only once the research conclusions have passed peer review can they be published in an academic journal.
Why is peer review important?
If a piece of research has been peer reviewed, then you know that experts have had a thorough look at it before it reaches you. Peer review isn’t a perfect system but it does mean you can have greater confidence in the evidence you use to make decisions.
How you can ask for peer-reviewed evidence
Ask for Evidence is a public campaign led by Sense about Science which encourages all of us to question the scientific claims we hear every day. If you want to know whether a cosmetic advert, piece of health advice, news story or political claim, can be believed then ask for peer reviewed evidence.
Use the Ask for Evidence tool to send a request for evidence from any company, journalist, or politician who makes a claim you’d like to know more about.