Read Scientific Literature


Reading, Evaluating and

Comprehending Scientific Literature

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Type of


Primary Sources

 Written directly by scientists who conducted the research

 Peer reviewed by other scientists

 Published in scientific journals

 Nature

 Science



Secondary Sources

 Reporting of scientific findings

 Popular writings about science

 Condensed reviews of scientific research

 Types

 Wikipedia

 Scientific American

 National Geographic

 Popular books

 Newspaper Articles

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Tips for

Reading a




 What is the article about?

 What can I learn from reading the article?


 Does the article address what you want to learn?

 Is this article worth the time?


 What questions did the authors propose to answer?

 What are the main objectives of the research?

 What is the hypothesis?

 How well do you understand what is presented?

 Should you do further research or define terms?

Tips for

Reading a



 Methods and Results

 What and how was the data collected?

 Attempt to understand each paragraph.

 Examine all figures and graphs, including legends and axis.

 What does the data show?

 Discussion and Conclusion

 What do the authors conclude from their data?

 What additional background is needed to understand article?

 Further Analysis

 Did the authors answer their proposed question ?

 What were the authors conclusions?

 Does the data presented support the conclusion?

 Could other data be collected?

 Did the article address what you wanted to learn?

 Are there other articles that could enhance your understanding?

Lab 1


Lab 1: Assignment (10 points) - Due at start of Lab 2

 Part 1

 Locate primary scientific research article with organismal biology focus

 Google Scholar

 PubMed

 UAH Library

 Turn in printed copy of article with assignment

 Taking notes or highlighting article is encouraged

 Part 2

 Read the selected article

 Use questions from lab manual to guide reading

 Write a summary of the article - One-page, single-spaced 12 pt font

 Authors research questions

 Experimental design

 Authors conclusions

 Personal conclusions and interpretation of data

 Critiques and questions about experiment design

 At least one question you have after reading the article