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Critical Reading : Making Sense of Research Papers in Life Sciences and Medicine - Ben Yudkin

Critical Reading

Making Sense of Research Papers in Life Sciences and Medicine

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Published: 30th March 2006
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Experienced scientists and medical researchers know how important it is to engage with research literature in an active, critical and analytical way. However in most universities little time is devoted to teaching the relevant skills. Readers who accept scientific papers uncritically may misunderstand results, misinterpret the experimental significance of techniques, over or underestimate the importance of findings and waste time and resources on flawed or unnecessary experiments.
"Critical Reading "is aimed at everyone who needs to read original research papers in life sciences and medicine: final-year undergraduates, graduate students, research scientists, clinicians and medical researchers. Through a series of clearly focused chapters, the reader is introduced to critical reading skills such as:
- Detection and analysis of spin
- Development of active reading habits
- Evaluation of methods, including qualitative methods
- Scientific analysis and interpretation
This book promotes a balanced, rigorous approach to the literature. It is unique in providing examples and end-of-chapter exercises from a wide range of scientific and clinical disciplines including biochemistry, ecology, immunology and physiology. Principles are extensively illustrated by reference to real papers, which are discussed constructively in the context of the pressures and technical difficulties that face researchers.
The skills "Critical Reading "imparts will deepen readers' understanding of the research process, increase enjoyment and enhance professional confidence and effectiveness in academic, clinical and commercial settings.

List of figuresp. viii
Prefacep. ix
Acknowledgementsp. xi
The paper trailp. 1
The deep endp. 1
Sources of informationp. 3
Textbooksp. 3
Reviewsp. 3
Research papersp. 6
Finding what you needp. 8
Know your booksp. 8
Know your journalsp. 8
Hunting the needlep. 9
Looking into the futurep. 12
Referencesp. 13
Medium and messagep. 14
Journalsp. 14
Peer reviewp. 14
Prestige or puff?p. 16
The internet and other sourcesp. 17
A tangled webp. 17
Copying errorsp. 19
Referencesp. 20
Scientists as authorsp. 21
Truth and relative truthp. 21
The world is orderly - isn't it?p. 22
Artefact or ugly fact?p. 25
Interpretation and presentationp. 26
The academic funding crisisp. 27
Science meets businessp. 28
Stockholm beckonsp. 29
Sex sellsp. 30
Invisible sciencep. 33
Publication bias and reference biasp. 33
Calling the tunep. 36
Referencesp. 38
The Abstract and Introductionp. 39
First impressionsp. 40
Do I need to read the paper?p. 40
What is the paper about?p. 41
What was the point of the research?p. 43
What are Abstracts not for?p. 45
Exercisep. 46
Materials and Methodsp. 49
The scientific methodp. 50
Attention pleasep. 50
Method or madness?p. 51
What are controls for?p. 57
The scientific questionp. 59
A clear problemp. 59
Exercisep. 61
Quantitative methodsp. 67
Significant figuresp. 68
Statistical significancep. 68
Confidence intervalsp. 73
Sample sizep. 74
The significance of figuresp. 80
Exercisep. 83
Referencesp. 95
Thinking sciencep. 96
Assumptions and deductionsp. 97
Outside the boxp. 97
Lines of reasoningp. 102
Reading researchp. 105
Revisiting the paper trailp. 106
Exercisep. 110
Referencep. 125
References for the exercise in Chapter 4p. 126
Indexp. 127
Index of Papers in Focus and papers by subjectp. 128
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.

ISBN: 9780415303224
ISBN-10: 0415303222
Series: Routledge Study Guides
Audience: Tertiary; University or College
Format: Paperback
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 129
Published: 30th March 2006
Country of Publication: GB
Dimensions (cm): 23.4 x 15.7  x 1.1
Weight (kg): 0.24
Edition Number: 1