5 guidelines for speaking proof

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Reposted by Climate Etc.

Posted on Nov 21, 2020 by curryja |

by Judith Curry

“Avoid unjustified certainty, neat narratives and partisan presentations. try to inform, not to convince. "

I just discovered this comment in Nature: Five rules for communicating evidence. When I discovered co-author David Spiegenhalter, I knew that would be good. I definitely needed an antidote to the Covid-19 propaganda and global warming that I have encountered recently. I'm also working on a new presentation on climate change. This makes an excellent checklist.

Here is a (link) to the article (freely accessible). Extracts:

There are countless examples from the current pandemic that we could ask about: Have experts always explicitly recognized the unknown? Complexity? Conflicts of Interest? Inconvenient data? And above all their own values?

Our small, interdisciplinary group at the University of Cambridge, UK, collects empirical data on topics such as communicating uncertainty, audience choice about trustworthy evidence, and the impact of narrative on people's decision making. Our goal is to design communications that will not guide people into making a particular decision, but rather help them understand what is known about a subject and form their own opinion based on that evidence. From our point of view, it is important to be clear about motivations, to present data completely and clearly and to exchange sources.

We recognize that the world is in oneinfodemic“, With false information going viral on social media. Therefore, many scientists feel that they are in an arms race of communication technologies. However, consider the replication crisis, partly because researchers are being incentivized to sell their work and focusing on a story rather than full and neutral reporting on what they have done. We fear that the urge to convince or tell a simple story can damage its credibility and trustworthiness.

So how do we show good intentions? We have to be open to our motivations, conflicts and limitations. Scientists whose goals are seen as prioritizing persuasion risk losing confidence.

Inform, not convince Offer the balance, not the wrong balance. State uncertainties

When zoologist John Krebs became chairman of the UK Food Standards Agency in the 2000s, he was faced with a barrage of crises, including dioxins in milk and the infectious bovine disease bovine spongiform encephalopathy. He adopted the following strategy:

Share what you know what you don't know what you're doing to find out what people can do in the meantime to be on the safe side. and that advice will change.

Quick tips for sharing evidence

The aim is to "inform, but not convince" and – as the philosopher of trust Onora O'Neill says – "to be accessible, understandable, usable and assessable".

Address all questions and concerns of the target group. Anticipate misunderstandings; Debunk or preemptively explain them. Do not select any results. Present potential benefits and potential harms in the same way so that they can be compared fairly. Avoid the distortions inherent in any presentation format (for example, use both positive & # 39; and & # 39; negative & # 39; frames together); use numbers alone or both words and numbers. Demonstrate & # 39; "Unapologetic Uncertainty": Be open to a range of possible outcomes. If you don't know, say so; Say what you're going to do to find out, and by when. Highlight the quality and relevance of the underlying evidence (for example, describe the dataset). Use a carefully designed layout in a clear order, citing sources.

Trust is key. The always-pursued goal of selling the science does not help the scientific process or the scientific community in the long run, nor does it help people (patients, the public, or policy makers) make informed decisions in the short term. That requires good evidence communication. Ironically, we hope we've convinced you of this.

The supplementary information is a longer version of it that is also worth reading.

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