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Digital Subscriptions > > HOW TO MAKE SENSE OF SCIENCE


Expert advice on deciphering the truth behind sensational headlines about the latest ‘miracle’ fertility treatment

Whenever a new development in male fertility is announced, Professor Allan Pacey's phone starts ringing off the hook as journalists seek his views on the latest research. Based at Sheffield University, Professor Pacey is one of the UK's leading experts on sperm and you'll often find his measured comments at the end of an excited article about these new discoveries which will 'change the future' of male fertility or 'hugely increase' treatment success rates. If you aren't a scientist, it can be hard to sift through the hype in news reports about potentially exciting research, especially when there seems to be a new fertility development every week.

Professor Pacey leads the Science Communications course at Sheffield and has considerable knowledge of the way newspaper journalists report scientific research. “There is a formula for writing these articles, which are all generally put together in the same way,” he explains. “There is the hype, then a summary, a quote from the author and then a quote from someone independent. Headline writers have to draw you in, but they often distort the real meat of what is being talked about.”

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