Scientists publish their studies in peer reviewed scientific journals. That means other scientists, who are experts on the topic but not involved in the particular study, scrutinized the paper and deemed the underlying work to be reliable and worthy of publication. Mass media outlets, like newspapers, websites, and popular magazines, then may report about the study for the public.
You should be able to distinguish between scientific papers and mass media news stories.
Here we’ll compare one scientific & mass media article about the same research. The study was designed, conducted, and written by 8th grader (!) Nora Louise Keegan in Canada.
Caption: 8th grader Nora Keegan presents her research findings in 2016, which led to a peer-reviewed scientific paper (Photo Credit: Keegan family NPR 2019)
Read or listen to a 1-minute story about the study by NPR “13-Year-Old Scientist’s Research Shows Hand Dryers Can Hurt Kids’ Ears
(Links to an external site.)
Read the actual scientific paper “Children who say hand dryers ‘hurt my ears’ are correct
” by Keegan published in the peer reviewed journal Paediatrics & Child Health in 2019. We usually refer to scientific papers by the author & year, so I’ll call this “Keegan 2020” going forward.
As you read, compare the style and structure of the NPR story and Keegan 2020. Consider their different audiences. What are shared and differing goals of both articles?
Submit answers to the following questions as a direct text entry, file upload (word doc or pdf), link to Google Doc, or media recording. Do not submit as a .pages files (I cannot open them).
How do the articles differ and why?
What research question was Keegan trying to answer?
How did she do it? (what were her methods)
What were her conclusions?
Do you think the conclusions were justified? Are there alternative explanations or limitations to the study?
If you could build on this study or use it as a model to answer another question, what would you do?
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