Recommended ReadsAugust 31st, 2021

Covid made research sexy – let’s not waste the opportunity

A photo of Rachel Podbury
Rachel Podbury, Principal Strategic Designer

Remember a time when ‘research’ was largely the domain of academics and research scientists? Laypeople, or the research-is-not-my-day-job folks, are discussing research efficacy in the same casual tone as they previously discussed which place does the best Croque Madame.

I’ve had the privilege of being raised, professionally speaking, in academic research environments, so I have long been lured into understanding underlying research before I make big (and sometimes even small) decisions. It seems, though, we live in a world where being informed about the latest clinical trial data is now desirable, and people want to understand how vaccines are assessed and approved. I’ve seen some great examples of this on instagram, such as this definition of efficacy vs effectiveness and Yes, the vaccine was tested enough – a statistical perspective.

This curiosity may not be limited to vaccine clinical trial data either. We appear to be in a moment of interest and openness to being educated on the 101 of research and its nuances.

Of course research and clinical trial data entering public discourse in the way it has creates serious risks around misinterpretation and misinformation, but it also creates an opportunity.

Perhaps we could use this moment to spark interest in the research and data governments use to make decisions about what social and healthcare services are available to us in our neighbourhood? If people were as engaged in understanding that, it’s not a stretch to suggest this would have flow on effects to increase meaningful participation in democracy.


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