Research Excercise

Popular Media Piece: http://time.com/2978648/organic-food-pesticides-antioxidants/

Time Magazine’s article, “Study: Organic Produce Has Fewer Pesticides, More Antioxidants” states statistics have switching to organic foods is worth it. Often, it is believed that organically grown food is beneficial to one’s health. In comparison to conventionally grown food, organic fruits, vegetables, and grains have substantially higher levels of antioxidants and lower levels of pesticides. The article was written upon the basis on a new study done at Newcastle University, proving that organic contains 17% more antioxidants than conventional. The new study from the British Nutritional Journal claims that despite popular belief, eating organic foods does not lead to better health.

Primary Source: http://blog.journals.cambridge.org/2014/07/new-study-finds-significant-differences-between-organic-and-non-organic-food/

Based on the actual studies, organically grown crops are 18 to 69% in antioxidants in comparison to conventionally grown foods. The study also done proves that these antioxidants are necessary for the reduced risk of chronic diseases, including cardiovascular and neurodegenerative diseases and certain cancers. These crops were also found to be 48% lower in toxic heavy metals. Incidentally, the study does not claim the point of view stated in the secondary article. This study is the first step to figuring out whether or not there are substantially large differences between organic and conventionally frown foods. With the evidence gathered from this study, researchers hope to conduct more studies upon the topic of whether organic foods contribute to a better health.

Do you think the popular piece accurately reflects the scientific finding?

The popular piece does not accurately reflect the scientific finding. The media article had not included that range of percentage of antioxidants. Instead they had given a flat answer, a number below the range as well. The perspective presented in the Time article was confident and unwavering, it suggested that there was a 100% guarantee that the study claimed the eating organic foods were not going to aid the betterment of health. But the study had not claimed that, the only claims made involved the study of antioxidants and the percentage of lower toxic levels. The researcher of the study simply state that there is not enough evidence to prove anything yet. But more studies were going to be conducted upon the basis of a better health.

How are these two different?

These two are different because the original study provides the public with more encouragement to make the switch to eating organic foods. The media article however, takes a firm stand that there is not difference, despite the higher levels of antioxidants found. The information provided in each influences the decision of the public. People are more likely to read media articles instead of actual studies. This will impact the progression of the topic in the future.

Where is the aspects exaggerated or misrepresented?

Time’s article had misinterpreted the statistics and views of the study done at Newcastle University. The numbers given are not reasonable in comparison to the actual study results. The perception of the study is also inaccurately represented in the article. Instead of trying to provide information correctly, the Time article may sway the verdict of the people in the future, when there comes a time to decide between organics conventionalism.

How would you improve the popular media piece?

To improve this popular media piece, I would first start be viewing the actual study. Using correct statistics will also accurately represent the results, instead of providing false information. Also, I think it would be beneficial to write an article or summary based on the study itself. The Time article had actually quoted another secondary article, ‘Study of Organic Crops Finds Fewer Pesticides and More Antioxidants’ written by the New York Times. Quoting secondary article isn’t effective and may not be accurate.

2 responses to “Research Excercise”

  1. Aiswarya Nagasubramony says:

    Interesting subject, and I agree with your suggestions to improve the secondary article. It is always important to support claims with strong evidence.

  2. Carlos Aizenman says:

    Right, and the popular media piece also assumes that more antioxidants are better, but if anything the evidence for that is starting to show that antioxidant supplements do not really pose an additional health benefit.

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