At the height of the pandemic, where scientists were pushing out novel biological discoveries, vaccination research, and clinical trial results, understanding science became a vital part of many of our lives. To make informed decisions for ourselves, we needed to understand the scientific reasoning behind social distancing protocol, vaccination trials, and the pharmaceuticals that affected our daily lives during the coronavirus pandemic.
However, getting reliable information from sources such as research articles was out of reach for most of the population due to complicated academic jargon and scientific terms that are incomprehensible to the average person. Instead, most resorted to news articles flooded with biased information, opinions from unaware writers, and overly simplified scientific jargon. This raises concerns regarding how informed the average person is regarding the very science that affects their health. From the coronavirus vaccines to the drugs prescribed for common illnesses to the novel treatments for cancer, people don’t understand what they are putting into their bodies because they can’t comprehend the very source of where the information comes from–research articles.
Thus, we must make research more accessible to our communities, not just those with PhDs, by making it so that the average person can gain a well-informed, scientifically-backed opinion about their medical decisions.
One can visit the Cochrane Library website to read a summary of the research from a “layman’s perspective” before the actual research article. However, because not all research articles are on the website (or summarized in more straightforward terms), we must work to create more understandable research papers. When writing research articles relevant to the average person’s medical decisions, researchers should rephrase unnecessarily complicated terms and maintain a thoughtful balance between scientific explanation and relevant medical implications for patients.
Our very lives rely upon research, and we deserve to understand it.