Science Education as a Barrier Against “Fake Health News”

Alla Keselman, Catherine Arnott Smith, Gondy Leroy, David R. Kaufman

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

1 Scopus citations


This framework chapter addresses the role of scientific literacy, specifically, conceptual understanding of biomedicine and the nature of science, in laypersons’ ability to evaluate the quality of online health information resources and health claims. We consider the challenge of supporting online information seekers in the era of rapidly changing information technologies and the spread of social media. We also provide examples of online information resources that present unconventional and non-evidence-supported health claims and describe the characteristics that make these resources seductive to users. We relate the public’s difficulty in recognizing the problematic nature of these resources to the concepts of e-health literacy and scientific literacy, giving examples from empirical studies. The chapter describes several informal contexts in which health information provision and e-health literacy support take place, stressing the potential of the science classroom in equipping the public for dealing with complex, uncertain health information. It also makes recommendations for science education research directions that would enhance the relationship between school science and informed digital citizenship. Lastly, the chapter presents data science instruction as a promising link in socially relevant education that connects science and health.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationContributions from Science Education Research
PublisherSpringer Science and Business Media B.V.
Number of pages26
StatePublished - 2021

Publication series

NameContributions from Science Education Research
ISSN (Print)2213-3623
ISSN (Electronic)2213-3631


  • Cognitive biases
  • Consumer health information
  • E-health
  • Health literacy
  • Science literacy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education


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