Format: The report must be typed and double-spaced except for the references (single spaced), have one-inch margins, and have normal font size (e.g. Times New Roman 12 point). It must be no more than two pages in length. Use headings for the Reference, Summary, Critique and Proposal. The summary, critique, and proposal should be written in a narrative style, not as an outline. You may use an additional cover page if you wish. Focus on using precise concise scientific language.
I. Reference: Properly identify the article as to authors, title and journal reference. Do not use the format given by each individual article, which varies between journals. Rather, always use the one format provided in class. You may use a PubMed or Google Scholar format as a guide.
II. Summary: Summarize, in your own words, the major points of the article, include key information about purpose, methods, results and conclusions. Do not quote from the article Do not simply paraphrase from the abstract.
III. Critique: Analyze any weaknesses in the article, with particular attention to the methods used and the authors’ interpretation of the results. The following are some of the things to look for, but you do not need to comment on them unless there is a criticism to be made. However always comment on the bolded questions/font. Be thorough and concise.
Please keep these questions in mind:
– Is there an explicit hypothesis?
– Do the authors convince you that the study is needed?
– Are the procedures described well enough to replicate the study?
– Are there biases in the selection of the subjects that my prejudice the results?
– Were the subjects affected by variables that were not controlled (e.g. environment)?
– Were there appropriate control groups or control inside?
– Were subject and investigator blinding used?
– Were the techniques used in collecting the data appropriate to the task?
– Were the tests of statistical significance properly used and reported?
– Were the data, figures and tables presented in a logical, concise, easy to follow format?
– Were any of the tables or figures superfluous?
– Have non-significant trends in the data been promoted to findings?
– Have the findings been overly generalized? Did they exceed scientific basis?
– Have the authors adequately related the findings to the current knowledge in the field?
– Have the authors provided plausible explanations as to the physiological mechanisms behind their findings?
– Have the authors provided alternative explanations to their findings?
– Have the authors failed to cite any relevant literature? (as undergraduates, you may not know the answer to this question, but make an attempt if you can)
– Have the authors limited themselves to only pertinent citations? (depends on the article type)
IV. Proposal: First, present an explicit hypothesis for a new study, then a brief rationale for the hypothesis, and then a brief description of the methods. Your study should seek to advance our knowledge in the same field as the article you critiqued, but should not be a near copy of the article (i.e. do not simply fix the problems in the article or give it a missing hypothesis and present this as a new study). Be original.

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