Presentation on theme: "Understanding Research Articles Microbiology Laboratory."— Presentation transcript:
Understanding Research Articles Microbiology Laboratory
Primary Research Article Official documents scientists use to communicate research Read to become involved in the scientific process Challenge the way you think
Finding Research Articles Most journals are published online Search strategies depend on purpose of research Library www.highwire.org : Highwire press Science, Nature, Journal of Bacteriology www.biomedcentral.com
Abstract Summary of research paper Include study’s purpose, experimental approach, results and conclusions Limited to less than 250 words Most widely distributed portion of papers
Questions 1.In one or two sentences restate the title of the paper in a way that would be understandable to a member of the general public. 2.Who are the authors of your paper? 3.When was the paper published? 4.Summarize the main point of the abstract in 2 or 3 sentences
Introduction Contains background information and a description of the study’s purpose Authors describe a problem, explain prior work and indicate where a controversy exists They describe why their work is important and how it seeks to extend knowledge
Internet You might use the internet to help you understand the introduction. Elements to consider: – Author-who is the source? What are their qualifications? – Scope-what is the intended audience of the site? – Timeliness: when was the information posted? How often is the site updated? – Presentation-are there errors? – Mission-does the site have an agenda? – Review-Has the information been peer reviewed?
Observations, Experiments Scientific studies are rooted in previous work Some studies are observational Some studies ask questions from observations – Theory Well established explanations – Hypotheses Tentative explanations not fully tested
Questions 1.Read the intro section, what is its main research area? 2.Are there areas of controversy in the research? 3.Does the paper test a hypothesis? 4.Does the paper develop a new theory? 5.Overall, does the intro section make a convincing case for the importance and value of the study?
Materials and Methods Tells how a study was performed When well documented another scientists can repeat the experiment Variables are often used in this section – Dependent – Independent – Controlled
Dependent Change in response to other variables Example – Volume regulation in fish cells, cell volume is the dependent variable – Experiments may test how it changes in response to other variables
Independent Potentially influence the dependent Example – Osmolarity of the fluid outside cells in the previous example
Controlled Numerous factors other than those under investigation may affect the outcome of the experiment Example – In studying osmolarity on cell volume, other factors such as temperature and pH are held constant
Control Groups Receive a treatment where the independent variable is unchanged from the normal value
Questions 1.Was preliminary work done before the reported experiment? 2.List the variable studied 3.How did the authors measure the variables? 4.Do the materials and methods provide enough detail to repeat the experiment?
Results The core of the study Data is collected in many forms Generally a notebook is kept where data is recorded – Tables and graphs
Questions 1. How are the data presented in the paper? 2. Are the finding relevant?
Discussion Opportunity for authors to explain what their findings mean Connects the study to previous work Interpretation: describe meaning of data
Questions 1. How do authors interpret their findings? 2. How does your interpretation of the study compare to the authors? 3. What is your overall opinion of the study?
Putting it all Together 1.Focus on methods and results 2.Be a skeptic 3.Be fair 4.Consider the big picture 5.Consult other sources 6.Take your time 7.Accept uncertainty 8.Expect to be challenged!
Individual Lab Experiment May work with one partner (group of 2 students) Develop an experiment that can be done in our lab Will present findings to class
Important Dates March 4 th : Title of experiment due March 18 th : Materials and methods due April 1 st : Conduct experiment in lab April 15 th : Present experiment findings using powerpoint presentation More information to come!
How to get started 1.Go to the library and check out online databases. Identify journals in your area of study that publish research articles 2.Locate the journals either online or at the library 3.Develop a list of 3 research topics that interest you, using your textbook, articles, or internet sites 4.Develop a list of 3 current research topics by browsing through the table of contents of recent journal issues
Con’t 5.Choose one of the research topics from question 3 or 4 and develop a list of 5 search terms that could be used to search for research articles on the topic 6.Using an appropriate database, identify 5 primary research articles on your topic 7.Use these articles in your research!