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Pop science can be an important tool for science educators, as it can explain scientific breakthroughs and findings to a general audience in an appealing way. However, pop science can be problematic because it does not always provide an accurate summary of scientific findings.
Hallmarks of Pop Science Pieces
Catchy, "click bait" sounding titles
Lots of images without captions or thorough explanations
Short (or nonexistent) reference lists
Overly simplified language
A lack of data (either in written, graphical, or table form)
Making "larger than life" or "too good to be true" claims
Note the more scientific title, the tables of data, the reference list, and the breakdown of article sections that align with the scientific method - all hallmarks of original research.
But what about when the science is false?
There are several mechanisms in place to preserve the ethics and facts in the scientific process. Occasionally, mistakes happen and unreliable science is published. Closely reading an article and looking for other sources that back up the claims of a source is an important part of the research process.