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A propaganda index for reviewing problem framing in articles and manuscripts: an exploratory study.

Gambrill E, Reiman A - PLoS ONE (2011)

Bottom Line: To determine the effectiveness of an index in increasing recognition of misleading problem framing in articles and manuscripts.However many instances remained undetected.This propaganda index warrants further exploration as a complement to reporting guidelines such as CONSORT and PRISMA.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: School of Social Welfare, University of California, Berkeley, California, United States of America. gambrill@berkeley.edu

ABSTRACT

Objective: To determine the effectiveness of an index in increasing recognition of misleading problem framing in articles and manuscripts.

Design: A propaganda index consisting of 32 items was developed drawing on related literature. Seventeen subjects who review manuscripts for possible publication were requested to read five recent published reports of randomized controlled trials concerning social anxiety and to identify indicators of propaganda (defined as encouraging beliefs and actions with the least thought possible). They then re-read the same five articles using a propaganda index to note instances of propaganda.

Data source: Convenience sample of individuals who review manuscripts for possible publication and sample of recent published reports of randomized controlled trials regarding social anxiety in five different journals by different authors, blinded by author and journal.

Results: Data showed that there was a high rate of propagandistic problem framing in reports of RCTs regarding social anxiety such as hiding well argued alternative views and vagueness. This occurred in 117 out of 160 opportunities over five research reports. A convenience sample of 17 academics spotted only 4.5 percent of propaganda indicators. This increased to 64 percent with use of the 32 item propaganda index. Use of a propaganda index increased recognition of related indicators. However many instances remained undetected.

Conclusion: This propaganda index warrants further exploration as a complement to reporting guidelines such as CONSORT and PRISMA.

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Related in: MedlinePlus

Propaganda Index.
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pone-0019516-g001: Propaganda Index.

Mentions: An index consisting of 32 items divided into seven categories was developed drawing on related literature on propaganda, peer review and problem framing (see Figure 1). This literature pointed to the following content regarding problem framing and evidentiary issues. The first category pertained to the nature of the problem addressed: Is it in dispute? Is only one view presented? Is this view presented as established? Is a psychiatric/medical view presented? Is evidence for the view promoted described? Are citations given? If so, do they provide support? Lastly, are possible harms of the view promoted described? Other sections included claims regarding effectiveness of interventions; claims regarding prevalence; claims regarding significant distress and adverse effects of the problem addressed; claims regarding course without treatment; claims of under-diagnosis; and claims of under-treatment. The latter three are indicators of disease mongering.[7], [12], [13] (See Appendix A for the instrument.) Respondents were also requested to indicate whether evidence was provided for claims (e.g., data described in quantitative terms, effect sizes), whether vague terms were used and whether citations were given and, if so, whether these provided support (yes, no, don't know).


A propaganda index for reviewing problem framing in articles and manuscripts: an exploratory study.

Gambrill E, Reiman A - PLoS ONE (2011)

Propaganda Index.
© Copyright Policy
Related In: Results  -  Collection

Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC3102054&req=5

pone-0019516-g001: Propaganda Index.
Mentions: An index consisting of 32 items divided into seven categories was developed drawing on related literature on propaganda, peer review and problem framing (see Figure 1). This literature pointed to the following content regarding problem framing and evidentiary issues. The first category pertained to the nature of the problem addressed: Is it in dispute? Is only one view presented? Is this view presented as established? Is a psychiatric/medical view presented? Is evidence for the view promoted described? Are citations given? If so, do they provide support? Lastly, are possible harms of the view promoted described? Other sections included claims regarding effectiveness of interventions; claims regarding prevalence; claims regarding significant distress and adverse effects of the problem addressed; claims regarding course without treatment; claims of under-diagnosis; and claims of under-treatment. The latter three are indicators of disease mongering.[7], [12], [13] (See Appendix A for the instrument.) Respondents were also requested to indicate whether evidence was provided for claims (e.g., data described in quantitative terms, effect sizes), whether vague terms were used and whether citations were given and, if so, whether these provided support (yes, no, don't know).

Bottom Line: To determine the effectiveness of an index in increasing recognition of misleading problem framing in articles and manuscripts.However many instances remained undetected.This propaganda index warrants further exploration as a complement to reporting guidelines such as CONSORT and PRISMA.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: School of Social Welfare, University of California, Berkeley, California, United States of America. gambrill@berkeley.edu

ABSTRACT

Objective: To determine the effectiveness of an index in increasing recognition of misleading problem framing in articles and manuscripts.

Design: A propaganda index consisting of 32 items was developed drawing on related literature. Seventeen subjects who review manuscripts for possible publication were requested to read five recent published reports of randomized controlled trials concerning social anxiety and to identify indicators of propaganda (defined as encouraging beliefs and actions with the least thought possible). They then re-read the same five articles using a propaganda index to note instances of propaganda.

Data source: Convenience sample of individuals who review manuscripts for possible publication and sample of recent published reports of randomized controlled trials regarding social anxiety in five different journals by different authors, blinded by author and journal.

Results: Data showed that there was a high rate of propagandistic problem framing in reports of RCTs regarding social anxiety such as hiding well argued alternative views and vagueness. This occurred in 117 out of 160 opportunities over five research reports. A convenience sample of 17 academics spotted only 4.5 percent of propaganda indicators. This increased to 64 percent with use of the 32 item propaganda index. Use of a propaganda index increased recognition of related indicators. However many instances remained undetected.

Conclusion: This propaganda index warrants further exploration as a complement to reporting guidelines such as CONSORT and PRISMA.

Show MeSH
Related in: MedlinePlus