Red Flags in Workplace Wellness Research: How to Spot Them and What They Mean

The health promotion and workplace wellness industries are not shy about promoting the efficacy of their initiatives. Unfortunately, conflicting research can make it difficult to know what to believe and who to trust. Additionally, many health promotion and wellness professionals (and most people generally) do not have sufficient training and experience in statistical analysis or research methodology to be able to decipher for themselves what conclusions can genuinely be drawn from the scientific research.

This paper will offer insight for thinking critically about claims made by study authors or others who promote research in these industries, through the lens of seven common “red flags.” These red flags are examples of flaws in research methodology or inaccuracies in the resulting claims that it is important for literature readers to understand. Health promotion and workplace wellness professionals can use this paper as a guide for objectively evaluating the literature and its associated claims.

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