Week 6: Words

Materials from today's class:


In-class activity: Reading Quiroga et al 2005

This activity will take approximately 30 minutes
  • Today you'll learn how to survey a journal article, getting what you need from the article in just 30 minutes of reading. In this guided exercise, you'll work with your breakout group through this 3-step process. 
  • Tasks
    1. Open the Quiroga et al 2005 article using the following Google form to guide you
    2. When you've completed part 1 with your group, begin PART 2 (in Perusall)
      • Part 2 is to skim through the rest of the paper for the answer to your questions! The rest of your reading of this article will be guided by the questions you wrote down in Steps 1-3. With experience, you will be able to find the answers to most questions quickly. See below for some common question types, and where to find the answers.
    3. When you've finished (or when we announce it's time to move on), move on to Part 3




Common question types and where to find the answer

  • What does [word] mean? Or, what does [abbreviation] stand for? All technical terms and abbreviations should be defined the first time they are used. But sometimes authors break this rule in the title and abstract, where word counts are limited. So look in the introduction for the definition of your mystery word or abbreviation. If you are reading the paper on a screen, you can save time by using the ‘find’ function to search. If the word or abbreviation is not defined in the paper, shame on those authors. You can decide whether to look it up online (but be careful, because scientific terms can be used very differently across different subfields) or just let it go. Personally, I usually let it go. An author who doesn’t bother to define terms isn’t trying very hard to communicate with me, and is not entitled to more of my valuable time and attention.

  • What question did the authors set out to answer? You can usually find this information in the last paragraph of the introduction. If the information is not there, the authors haven’t organized their introduction properly. Again, you can choose whether to search further or let it go.

  • What did they measure, and how did they measure it? This information is in the method section, along with information about who the participants were (for experiments with human subjects) and (hopefully) all the other details you would need in order to replicate the study.

  • What did the authors find? (Not what they think it means.) How did they analyze their data?  This information is in the results section.

  • What do the authors think their findings mean? This information is in the discussion.

Missed live lecture today?

  • You can participate in this activity by reading the paper on your own (or with a friend) and trying the activity on your own.