Evaluating Science Literature


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Evaluating Science Literature

  1. 1. Evaluating Science Literature
  2. 2. Step One: Is It Original Research? <ul><li>The article focuses on a single, well-defined topic, the hypothesis, which is the starting point of the research. </li></ul><ul><li>The article contains the experimental or computational design. </li></ul><ul><li>The article outlines the methods </li></ul><ul><li>The article contains statistical/quantifiable data that either supports or refutes the hypothesis. </li></ul><ul><li>The article discusses the results. </li></ul><ul><li>The article suggests a course for future research. </li></ul>
  3. 3. Step Two: Is It From An Authoritative Source? <ul><li>The standard of authority among scientists and the academic community in general is PEER-REVIEW. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Aka: juried, refereed, or juried. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Ulrich’s Periodicals Directory will tell you if a journal is peer-reviewed or not </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Ulrich’s is available online through the WSU Libraries. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Otherwise, check the editorial statement in a print copy of the journal. That should tell you if it’s peer-reviewed or not </li></ul><ul><li>Peer-review means that the author has met the requirements for publications established by that journal, including: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>The article fits the scope of the journal. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The reviewers and the editor(s) find the science and the results to be sound. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The paper contributes to the body of scientific knowledge. </li></ul></ul>
  4. 4. Step Three: Is the Research Objective? <ul><li>The hypothesis posed by the author(s) can be tested. </li></ul><ul><li>The objectives and methods are written clearly and explained adequately. </li></ul><ul><li>The results are written in language that is unambiguous and free of bias. </li></ul><ul><li>It is easy to ascertain who sponsored the research. </li></ul><ul><li>It is easy to ascertain the author(s)’ credentials. </li></ul>
  5. 5. Step Four: Is the Research Valid? <ul><li>Responsiveness : The evidence answers the question put forth in the hypothesis. </li></ul><ul><li>Robustness : The authors used established methods and techniques. </li></ul><ul><li>Reliability : Other researchers performed the same tests, under the same conditions, with the same instruments and got the same result. </li></ul><ul><li>Rigor : The interpretation of the results makes sense and is consistent with the results of similar work, and if the results are not consistent the authors explain those inconsistencies adequately. </li></ul>
  6. 6. Guidelines for Approaching Different Type of Scientific Literature
  7. 7. Peer-Reviewed, Primary Research <ul><li>These are materials published in a peer-reviewed source that meet the requirements of originality, objectivity, and validity. </li></ul><ul><li>The most important factor is clarity; do the authors explain everything in sufficient detail that the experiment could be reproduced exactly. </li></ul><ul><li>Examples: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Research articles in peer-reviewed journals </li></ul></ul>
  8. 8. Peer-Reviewed, Secondary Research <ul><li>These are materials published in a peer-reviewed source that do not meet the requirements of originality, but still meet the requirements of objectivity, and validity. </li></ul><ul><li>In this category the emphasis shifts to the connectivity of ideas. Do the authors cite the previous research consistently? Are the connections thoughtful, logical, and consistent? </li></ul><ul><li>Examples: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Review articles </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Meta-analysis (an article that condenses the research results from other articles. Look at a Cochrane report from the Cochrane Library, it’s a great example of meta-analysis.) </li></ul></ul>
  9. 9. Non Peer-Reviewed, Primary Research <ul><li>These are materials that are not published in a peer-reviewed source but still meet the requirements of originality, objectivity, and validity. </li></ul><ul><li>In addition to having sufficient information to reproduce the experiment, examine how the authors treat the source material. </li></ul><ul><li>Examples: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Theses/Dissertation </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Government White Papers </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Conference Proceedings/Abstracts </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Manuals </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Protocols </li></ul></ul>
  10. 10. Non Peer-Reviewed, Secondary Research <ul><li>This category covers the widest range of materials. </li></ul><ul><li>Things to watch out for: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Are sufficient primary sources to support this work? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Check whether the research has been done before </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Do the authors cite sufficient peer-reviewed sources? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Are they citing facts or opinions? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Who pubished this? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Do they have an agenda? </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Examples: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Textbooks </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Handbooks </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Popular Science Books </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Newspaper articles </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Magazine articles </li></ul></ul>
  11. 11. <ul><li>Karenann Jurecki </li></ul><ul><li>131 Owen Library </li></ul><ul><li>[email_address] </li></ul><ul><li>AIM: JKarenann </li></ul><ul><li>Yahoo IM: k.jurecki </li></ul>