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Educator response: credibility checklist

In the previous Step, you used the assessment tool on Sky news article ‘Packed lunches worse for kids than school dinners’. This article looks at a study from BMJ Open that assess the changes in diet and nutrient quality of year 4 English primary school children’s packed lunches between 2006 and 2016. If you would like to look at the research paper you can access it here.

Here is our assessment of the article.

Question number Question Assessment score Why?
1 Does the article cite a journal? +1 Published in BMJ Open
2 Does the article cite an author from the journal paper? -1 No author named
3 Does the article cite an affiliated organisation? +1 University of Leeds
4 Does the article state the number of subjects (sample size)? +1 1,148 in 2006 and 323 in 2016
5 Does the article state whether the study differs from previous research? -1 No other research is discussed
6 Does the article compare statistics, are they misused or misrepresented? -1 No statistics are discussed
7 Does the article give adequate background? -1 Very little background information is given
8 Is the headline a fair reflection of the article and journal paper? -1 No, the study did not compare packed lunches and school dinners
9 Does the article state whether the findings are preliminary or conclusive? 0  
10 Does the article state whether the study differs from mainstream science? 0  
11 Does the article state whether the findings are statistically significant? 0 Statistical significance is not provided
12 Does the article report the absolute risk? 0  
13 Does the article report the relative risk? 0  
14 Does the article explore the safety of the intervention? 0 This study was cross sectional, no intervention was applied
15 Does the article explore any caveats? 0  
16 Does the article quote a specialist opinion? +1 The article appears to quote the researchers
17 Is the study representative of the wider population, or does the article state that the results cannot be generalised? +1 It is representative of UK children. However it does not mention that the study was conducted in children aged 8-9 years which are not representative of all UK children.
18 Does the article mention data that was not in the cited article? 0  
19 Does the article have the potential to cause undue harm or optimism? -1 The headline is misleading as outlined above
20 Does the article generalise from laboratory-based/animal studies to humans without explicitly stating so? 0  
21 Does the article state that a ‘breakthrough’ has been made, or a ‘cure’ been found? 0  
  TOTAL SCORE -1 This is a poor quality article

Can you think of a better headline for this article?


If you would like a further interpretation of the article and the research behind it, you should take a look at the webpage NHS Behind the Headlines.

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This article is from the free online course:

Food and Nutrition: The Truth Behind Food Headlines

EIT Food