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Title: Media Translation of Evidence Based Research: Vitamin D Portrayal in Print Media
Authors: Haddadin, Yara
Issue Date: Sep-2015
Citation: Haddadin, Yara. (2015). Media Translation of Evidence Based Research: Vitamin D Portrayal in Print Media ( Unpublished master's thesis). University of Calgary, Calgary, AB.
Abstract: The goal of this capstone research paper is to explore how the media translates evidencebased research into recommendations for the public through an examination of how newspapers reported on scientific studies of the health benefits of vitamin D. Vitamin D is controversial because the medical community is still at odds on the proper dosage for preventing health care various conditions. That becomes a matter of public policy because vitamin D is sold without a prescription and is not otherwise controlled for consumer purchase and is taken at the public’s discretion. Therefore, when news media translates research-based evidence on dosage (as well as other information), that translation directly influences the public’s choices for how much vitamin D to take. When the media misses details or miscommunicates scientific evidence and conclusions, the public does not have the information required to make a fully informed health decision. This paper explores six research reviews and corresponding media treatment of those reviews. Additionally, the paper includes discussion of several Cochrane Reviews on controlled clinical trials of vitamin D. Next , I conduct a news content analysis to compare the media’s translation of the information from the scientific evidence. Finally, the capstone paper includes several public policy recommendations to encourage more accurate reporting of scientific evidence, in this area and others. The main findings of this paper are that most news outlets fail to accurately portray a comprehensive overview of the scientific research. There were common issues, with news articles missing scientific details, staying too close to their primary sources, and overemphasizing the conclusions they wished to forward while ignoring contrary information. Aside from the news articles, the scientific evidence indicates that very few conclusions can be drawn at present due to a lack of research. Most news articles did not note this important detail.
Appears in Collections:Master of Public Policy Capstone Projects

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