Last time we had a lively discussion on the report linking red and processed meat to colorectal cancer. An issue that was raised (amongst many others) was that it depends on how you cook the meat.
This week we will look at our first paper with researcher generated data. i.e. the authors have actually done the experiments and are presenting their results. You will find the format of the paper different to the meta-anlayis studies we have previously looked at and you should read it in a different way. Click on the link below for the paper.
To get the most from this paper you should read it multiple times, make notes as you go along and consider the following;
- Do not read the abstract first. Read it last. This is the authors own summary of their research and you do not want to have their thoughts influence your own at this stage.
- Read the introduction and summarise where this research fits in with other research. What is the bigger picture? What are they proposing to do that is new? What is the purpose of this work? Also get to grips with some of the abbreviations (PAHs and HAs) and where they fit in the story. ( You may need to do a little bit of background research on these)
- Read the methods section but don’t worry about understanding the detail at this stage. Can you follow their logic in how the experiments were conducted? What have they controlled for? What key methods have they used?
- Note the results in figure 1, which we will come back to later. Table 1 shows the results from this study. What can you deduce from these results? Can you link the data from figure 1 & table 1? Does this imply a mechanism for the effects observed? What is the point of table 2?
- What are your conclusions from the study? If you were to summarise this work in a few sentences what would you say? Now read the abstract and see if you agree with the statements made.
Well done ! You have now read and critically assessed your first research paper.
As always post your views and thoughts for all to share.