Reading a scientific paper


Part 1. Reading the Paper

Read through the journal Nature's article on reading Scientific papers so you know what to expect in each section.  You might revisit this article when it comes time to write your paper.  After reading this you should be able to list the sections of a scientific paper and what to expect in each. 

Then, follow the suggestions from Dr.s Purugganan and Hewitt from Rice University

Actions in the file HowToReadSciArticle and take some notes in the same categories they recommend on the paper Urban Species Size ShiftsActions as you read it. Put those notes here. 

Part 2.  Some details.

  1. Read the abstract – What is the main thesis of their argument?
  2. Where was this study done and how many field sites were there?
  3. What is the main point of figure 2?
  4. What is the main point of fig. 3
  5. What is the main point of fig 4.
  6. Do you think the evidence sufficiently supports their conclusion?
  7. Is there another possible explanation for the pattern in their data, and if so, what is it?
  8. What does this have to do with global warming?

Part 3. Karl Popper and the Function of Falsification or Replication or Reproducibility in science

Design a sampling scheme to test this hypothesis in your area.  Locate an urban site and a natural site nearby where you live and what things your would measure - it does not have to be all the things in this paper, for example, you could just catch crickets and measure them.  How many would you have to catch to be a real test of the hypothesis? How long do you think it would take you to do this study?

Note: If you use iNaturalist to document the specimens you capture and the journal or comments to include the measures you could do this for one of your main projects.

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