Reading Research

Welcome to Reading Research

A) Learn how to translate scientific writings into ideas that make sense.

**The tragic consequence of efficient scientific communication is that few people can read it well.

**Science is funded by the people but written primarily for other scientists or scientists in training.

**The good news is that you too can learn to understand scientific writing by using some of the ideas and resources here. Educate yourself on how to decode scientific writing – use the links below as a starting point.

2)  Research papers are just one piece of evidence to an enormous puzzle.  No single research finding proves anything because science requires that individual results are verified and “replicated” by multiple, independent laboratories.  Avoid the temptation to jump to any conclusion based on a single study.

3)  Avoid cherry picking specific results.  Everything in the world has multiple causation and you will find competing views on every topic.  Be sure to evaluate the pros and cons in any argument- the evidence for and against.  Be fair when choosing your sources in order to avoid confirmation bias.

4)  Do not be intimidated by fancy words.  If you don’t know a word, look it up.  If the author’s language is pretentious or uses too many large words, then just prepare yourself for the extra work of asking “what does that really mean?”.

5)  Jargon is not the same thing as knowledge. Because science deals with the unknown yet people hate to be seen as ignorant, ignorance is often paved over with fancy words.  Look for an author’s strongest, clearest claims and best evidence.