Apparently I Like to State the Obvious
As most of you may know, I’m one of two bloggers for Our Bodies Our Blog. One of the nice things about writing for them is that I have an editor, who provides excellent suggestions that improve the clarity and interest of the posts.
I, on the other hand, keep repeatedly subjecting said editor to my own writing quirks – in particular, there’s a post pending over there in which I felt compelled in my first draft to explicitly point out something along the lines of “This study is in Danish women, therefore it may not apply perfectly to U.S. populations.”
Really, you don’t say?
I do it all the time. “This study was in highly educated, white, middle class women with health insurance. They are not necessarily like you or me or everybody else.” (as a made up example).
It’s definitely something librarians and medical folks have to consider when reading the medical literature – is the population in the study anything like the population we’re interested in? Would it apply? How might that population be different in a way that makes it inapplicable? However, when I point out that the population is all Danish women, or all highly educated, white middle class women, I can probably leave that up to readers to realize that this is not representative of everybody. I don’t have to explain it 3 different ways. Doh.
[Note: I’m planning to give some of the health reform legislation a read tonight. More on that later.]