Review: How you should read coronavirus studies, or any science paper

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Review: How you should read coronavirus studies, or any science paper

Review: How you should read coronavirus studies, or any science paper

This column points out the difficulty in reading scientific papers and offers suggestions for understanding this type of manuscript (which provides insight for what researchers should do to help readers).

After a brief history of how scientific writing has evolved, the author argues that researchers can tell the story of their study orally better than in writing and thus, readers must decipher what is written. It is important to understand how an article is set up: history or justification for the study, methods used to do the study, results, and discussion of what the results mean. After knowing the format, one should read through the paper with a healthy skepticism because much of the research published about COVID-19 is in preprint format, which means that it has not been peer-reviewed. Even when it has, mistakes can be made and therefore, healthy skepticism allows the reader to evaluate the merit of the research. A recommended shortcut is to follow leading epidemiologists and virologists on social media because they often post what is good or bad about emerging research. Experts are encouraged to tell the story of their research in easy to understand ways, including using social media to highlight important findings.

 

|2020-06-03T11:09:44-04:00June 3rd, 2020|COVID-19 Literature|0 Comments

About the Author: Maria Brann

Maria Brann
Dr. Maria Brann, PhD, MPH, explores the integration of health, interpersonal, and gender communication. Her translational focus and mixed methods approach are woven throughout her health vulnerabilities research, which advocates for more effective communication to improve people’s health. Her primary research interests focus on the study of women’s and ethical issues in health communication contexts and promotion of healthy lifestyle behaviors to improve personal and public health and safety. She researches communication at both the micro and macro levels and studies how communication influences relationships among individuals and with the social world.

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