Read Scientific Literature

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Reading, Evaluating and
Comprehending Scientific Literature
Image credit: sciencemag.org
Primary Sources
 Written directly by scientists
who conducted the research
Type of
Sources
 Peer reviewed by other
scientists
 Published in scientific
journals
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Nature
Science
JAMA
PNAS
Secondary Sources
 Reporting of scientific
findings
 Popular writings about
science
 Condensed reviews of
scientific research
 Types
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
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Wikipedia
Scientific American
National Geographic
Popular books
Newspaper Articles
Image Credit:
https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1319562X18300135
 Title
 What is the article about?
 What can I learn from reading the article?
Tips for
Reading a
Scientific
Article
 Abstract
 Does the article address what you want to learn?
 Is this article worth the time?
 Introduction
 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?
 Methods and Results
Tips for
Reading a
Scientific
Article

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
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: 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
Lab 1
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
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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
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