Can you help me understand this Writing question?
Finding an Appropriate Article
In order to complete the remaining steps of this assignment successfully, you will need to find a peer-reviewed journal article that documents a piece of research that used statistical methods in the analysis of the study. All the elements of the description are important so let me briefly explain them:
- Peer-reviewed – this means that others in the field have reviewed the article to assure its quality prior to it being accepted for publication.
- Journal – Journals publish academic work as opposed to magazines, periodical, news outlets, webpages which all have different purposes, standards, and content. I am requiring that you use a research article from a journal because this type of document traditionally contains the details you will need to complete the assignment, and most other sources do not. Current journals also assign doi (digital object identifier) numbers to their articles. Making sure your article has such a number is a way to check that it is from a journal and that is likely, not outdated. Look for articles published in the last ten years.
- While many of these journals publish research articles there are other types of articles published in these journals, so it is important to look for the article structure presented in your assigned reading.
- Types of literature you may encounter:
- Research articles, sometimes called “original” research, pose a question, then use research methods to answer the question, post their observations in the results section, and then discuss the implications of those results. These research articles might answer the question by looking at changes in a specific subject over time (water level at a lake for ten years), looking at multiple subjects at once (the price of solar power across US cities), or by intervening in a population to track changes compared to a control group (drug trials).
- Other literature in a journal might include literature or systematic reviews, which look at multiple research articles and find trends in those studies, or theoretical articles which do not have methods or results sections.
- Editorials or book reviews, which do not use statistics (or even data, usually).
- Using statistical methods. Statistics is a branch of mathematics that has to do with the use of data in decision making in the context of uncertainty. You have examined two branches of Statistics descriptive and inferential, these are NOT statistical methods. Statistical methods use data, but data are not statistical methods. Not all numbers and graphs are presentations of statistical analyses. The best way to check is to look for a definition of the specific method identified to verify it is a statistical method. Some research articles may present data without performing statistical analysis. For example, the number of Covid-19 cases in the Tampa area is data, but it requires further statistical analysis to be useful in this assignment. You will study several types of statistical methods this semester, but there are many more, the list below is the tip of the iceberg, so remember to check definitions when you think you have found a statistical method.
Table 1: Short List of a Few Statistical Methods (not exhaustive, there are many more)
|Analysis of fo Variance ANOVA||Appraisal||Bootstrapping||Cluster Analysis||Correlation|
|Cronbach’s Alpha||Cross-Validation||Curve-Fitting||Dimension Reduction||Discriminant Analysis|
|Factor Analysis||Friedman’s Rank Test||Kaplan-Meier Curves||Kolmogorov-Smirnov Test||Linear Regression|
|Mann-Whitney U||Mean Quare Weighted Deviation||Regression Analysis||Time Series Analysis||Weibull Analysis|
Starting the Search
Use one of the following to search for an article
- Google Scholar – While you can search this directly on your browser, if you go through the library it will link you directly to many articles. The downside of this search tool is that it completes the broadest search of the listed resources, so you are likely to need to refine search terms and dig through articles or other materials that do not meet the assignment criteria or your topic interest. If you make the effort to do an advanced search you can narrow this somewhat. Many students indicated to me that this is the approach they used to find their articles.
- Scopus – This database in the “largest abstract and citation database of peer-reviewed literature: scientific journals, books, and conference proceedings.” This database has search resources that can help you narrow and refine your searches.
- Web of Science – Within this database is a sub-database BIOSIS Citation Index that focuses on biomedical research.
- Computer Science Database – This is a discipline-specific database that covers thousands of publications
Pick search terms, search and scan what you find for relevance
- Search for your topic using terms you think will locate your topic with statistic* after it. (the star indicates you want any term with the root “statistic” so it will pick up statistics and statistical.) Scan the titles and text below it for what you find. Find one or two that look interesting.
- If your search results in a large number of articles, you can narrow the search (depending on the search tool) by date, by language, by field, and by publication type. By doing this you can eliminate articles out of what you found like articles in languages you cannot read, articles from other disciplines, and publications like book reviews, and patent information.
- Review the methods section to determine if statistical methods are used. Many well-written articles will identify that they are doing statistical analyses. To find the analysis in this type of paper you can search the paper with the term statistic. Additionally, if you are looking at the methods section of your study where the analysis is being done and it sounds like what they are doing is a statistical method, but not one your recognize, do a search for the term to find a definition. For an initial search for verification, a Google or Wikipedia search is adequate. Statistical methods will be outlined in the methods section, reported in the results section, and discussed in the discussion section.
- Review article focusing on the abstract and research question to determine if you understand it or it is too technical. While it is good to stretch yourself intellectually, the intent of this assignment is not to be an expert on the research area you are reading about. If you find you do not understand the article, it is best to search again and find an article that is written in a way that you understand the topic it is presenting.
Document the article that you will use
You will document the article you will use in the following 7 ways using the provided template to complete the assignment. The purpose of this documentation is to assure that you have found an article the is a research article from a scholarly journal that involves statistical methods in the analysis.
Date of Publication: (as none of your are historians, I do not expect to find old articles being used. Look for articles published in the last ten years. This is not a hard line but you do not want to spend time reviewing something that is out of date.)
Statistical method(s) used: (I am looking for specific method NOT just descriptive or inferential)
Definition of the statistical method: This MUST be a definition from either Wikipedia or one of the statistical encyclopedia ebooks the library has.