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STAT 470W: Problem Solving and Communication in Applied Statistics


Welcome to the Course Guide for STAT 470W which will help you to read and write statistical papers.  Use the two tabs "Finding and reading research articles" and "Writing a research article or statistical report" to help you with your assignments.

LionSearch Scholarly Articles

Reading a research article

Here is a common structure of a research article:

  1. The abstract is a summary of the research paper at the beginning of the article.
  2. The introduction gives background on the problem including previous studies sometime referred to as a literature review.
  3. The methods or methodology section outlines the study design including procedures like data collection.
  4. The findings or results section objectively reports the data often including tables or figures.
  5. The discussion section will interpret the results and make conclusions.

Read the abstract first to determine if the study is actually relevant to your topic of interest.  You may find an article actually focuses on education policy rather than techniques or one that uses survey data rather than observations.

Next you will want to examine the findings for explanations of the significance of the results.  For articles that use statistical methods you should see specific correlation coefficients (p-values) presented either in text or in a table.  This information presents the statistical significance of the results.  You need to also dissect the findings section to look for the specific statistical methods used.