PSY 325 Evaluate News Articles
PSY 325 Evaluate News Articles
Research plays an important role in improving people’s lives, especially research related to health. In most cases, the output of such research efforts is reported by journalists who tend to use non-technical language so that the audience can understand. However, one mistake journalists usually make is conflating correlation with causation when reporting such results (Goldin, 2015). While it may look easy to distinguish between correlation and causation, the two are usually confusing and hence need an adequate understanding. Correlation studies usually help people know how two factors or variables are correlated; hence people can have insights into various aspects of important things such as health. Therefore, the purpose of this paper is to analyze three news articles reporting results from correlation studies for a general audience and analyze the results following various questions.
Analysis of the News Articles
One of the news articles is an article authored by Rauf (2020) with the title “ Don’t just sit there: A little exercise makes up for a full day of sitting. This article reports that sitting for long periods of time can be detrimental to someone’s life, hence a need for physical activity. The news article reported the findings of a study done in 2017, and it reports that a direct relationship was found between sedentary time and early death. The news also reports that a short amount of experience each day can negate the potentially harmful effect of sedentary life. The article reported that exercise could be important during the holidays as deaths from heart attacks have been found to be at their peak during December and January and that regular exercise can take many forms.
The major variable discussed in the research includes physical exercise, heart attack, death, and risk of premature death. The news article presents the results of the correlation analysis in a narrative manner, as no statistical terms or representations have been used. For example, the article just states that researchers have found a direct relationship between excessive sedentary time and early death (Rauf, 2020). The author presents results in a causal manner; for example, one of the statements is that sitting for long periods of time can take years off a person’s life. The author has described several variables which may adequately cover the possible relationship between lack of exercise and poorer health outcomes. Therefore, no additional variable can be added.
Based on my knowledge of correlational research, it makes sense to make a lifestyle change based on the research presented in the article. For example, the results show that lack of physical exercise causes early death. However, it is a correlation hence individuals living sedentary can make life changes such as engagement in physical exercise to reduce and lower the chances of conditions that may cause premature death. The results reported in the original article indicate that the news article reported the results partially but accurately. For example, the original research indicated that longer sedentary bout duration and greater sedentary time were both associated with a more enhanced risk for all-cause mortality (Diaz et al.,2017).
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The next new article was authored by Upham (2023), entitled “ Afternoon workouts may yield the most benefits for
longevity.” According to this study, workout exercise carried out in the afternoon reduces the risk of early death more than physical activity in the morning. In addition, non-medication approaches such as physical activity can make a big difference in an individual’s health. Again this news article reports that moderate to vigorous activity is associated with a decreased likelihood of dying from cancer or cardiovascular diseases. As part of the research, they found that the reduced risk of heart disease death with afternoon workouts was stronger in men, individuals with preexisting heart diseases, less active individuals, and the elderly. The observation of the benefits of afternoon exercise was associated with circadian rhythms (Upham, 2023). The article also reports that morning exercise may be more appropriate for burning fat.
The variables discussed in this research include morning exercise, afternoon exercise, evening exercise, fat burning, and risk of death. The results of the correlation analyses have also been presented in narrative format, as the authors did not include aspects such as the p-value and other statistical aspects(Upham, 2023). The author also presents the result as causal. For example, afternoon exercise leads to a lower risk of premature death. One additional variable that could be added to the study is exercise intensity which describes how demanding the exercise is. This could help in gaining an insight if the exercise intensity also has an effect. Based on my knowledge of correlational research, individuals can adjust their exercise hours to enjoy the reported benefits of afternoon exercise. After reading the primary source article, it is evident that the news article represented the research conducted accurately (Upham, 2023). For example, the article reported that engaging in afternoon exercise was associated with a lower risk of all-cause, cancer, and cardiovascular disease mortality.
The next news article was authored by Henderson (2023) with the title “cardio boosts immunity: Regular aerobic exercise slashes the risk of death from flu and pneumonia.” According to this news article, regular aerobic exercise, also known as cardio, is associated with a substantially lower risk of death from pneumonia or flu, even when done at weekly levels lower than the recommended levels. However, there are exercise levels where the benefits do not improve anymore, or harmful effects may result. The article also reports that physical exercise, especially aerobic exercise maintains good health and wards off serious illness. The article discussed various variables, including aerobic exercise, muscle-strengthening activities, and risk of death from various conditions such as pneumonia and flu (Henderson, 2023). The results of the correlation analyses were also presented in a narrative form, as in the previous cases. The author did not include any statistical terms which may be difficult to interpret for a general audience. The other does not present the results in a causal manner. For example, as part of the reporting, the author indicates that regular aerobic exercise is linked to a significantly lower risk of death from pneumonia or flu. As such, there is no report that exercise causes a lower risk of death from pneumonia or flu. The author has covered relevant variables that could be used to achieve the objective of the study; hence no need for additional variables.
Based on my knowledge about correlational research, it makes sense to make lifestyle changes based on the research presented. For example, when individuals take part in the recommended levels of exercise, then they have a higher chance of experiencing a lower risk of death due to pneumonia or flu (Henderson, 2023). This news article has also accurately reported the findings of the study as reported in the primary article.
Correlation research is useful in helping individuals learn about important aspects, especially those concerning their health. Therefore, the results of such findings should be put in a way that many people can understand them. However, there is a need to be careful so that while reporting the results in simple language, no mistakes of misreporting are committed. The write-up has explored a total of three news articles that reported findings of correlational studies. One of the observations is that the authors reported near-perfect results as presented in the primary sources.
Diaz, K. M., Howard, V. J., Hutto, B., Colabianchi, N., Vena, J. E., Safford, M. M., … & Hooker, S. P. (2017). Patterns of sedentary behavior and mortality in US middle-aged and older adults: a national cohort study. Annals of Internal Medicine, 167(7), 465–475. https://doi.org/10.7326/M17-0212
Goldin, R. (2015). Causation vs. Correlation. https://senseaboutscienceusa.org/causation-vs-correlation/
Henderson. (2023). Cardio boosts immunity: Regular aerobic exercise slashes risk of death from flu and pneumonia. https://www.news-medical.net/news/20230517/Cardio-boosts-immunity-Regular-aerobic-exercise-slashes-risk-of-death-from-flu-and-pneumonia.aspx
Rauf D. (2020). Don’t just sit there: A little exercise make up for a full day of sitting https://www.everydayhealth.com/fitness/dont-just-sit-there-a-little-exercise-makes-up-for-a-full-day-of-sitting/
Upham B. (2020). Afternoon workouts may yield the most benefits for longevity. https://www.everydayhealth.com/fitness/scheduling-your-workouts-in-the-afternoon-may-yield-the-most-benefitforlongevity/#:~:text=Afternoon%20Exercisers%20Had%20a%20Lower,%2C%20heart%20disease%2C%20and%20cancer.