Analytics 100

How to Read and Interpret a Scientific Study
Instructor: James Lyons-Weiler


Course Description: This is an online course designed to empower individuals to know the landscape and layout of scientific studies. Topics will include the basics like types of studies, how to find published studies and preprints, how to access supplemental material, what to expect to find in specific sections of a typical peer-reviewed study, including the abstract, introduction, materials and methods, results, discussion, acknowledgements, funding information, conflicts of interest, and citations; how to approach an author for access to data and software; how and why to respond to studies that are flawed and/or unethical. Course material will include case studies of specific publications – both well-done and flawed. Course assignments will include finding specific types of studies. By the end of the course, students will be comfortable navigating the familiar territory of published scientific studies.

Week 1. Types of Studies

Week 2. Where to Find Studies

Week 3. Publication Anatomy 1 – Title and Abstract

Week 4. Publication Anatomy 2 – Introduction

Week 5. Publication Anatomy 3 – Materials and Methods

Week 6. Publication Anatomy 4 – Results (Text, Figures, Tables)

Week 7. Publication Anatomy 5 – Discussion

Week 8. Publication Anatomy 6 – Affiliations, Disclosures, Acknowledgements

Week 9. Publication Anatomy 7 – Citations

Week 10. Wrap-Up and Overview