Scientists bundle up their knowledge and distribute it in the form of scientific papers, also known as journal articles. These creations can be quite difficult to interpret. In this class, we'll briefly cover what to expect from a scientific paper, and then dive in and get our hands dirty by actually reading some of them. As a group, we will discuss in detail two or more papers, as time allows, including: how to decode scientific jargon; the importance of understanding scientific methods described in a paper; what researchers mean when they say a result is "significant"; and how to read scientific figures and graphs. Finally, we will work together to come up with a list of conclusions from each paper and discuss what conclusions the paper actually supports and what it does not (not always the same as what a paper's authors conclude!). The titles of the specific papers that we will read will be announced before the session begins.
Review the structure of a scientific paper
Define the term "significant" in terms of a scientific paper
Draw their own conclusions about the findings in a scientific paper