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How do we assess the evidence in news headlines?

Go back to the initial study


Name 4 strategies (questions) to assess the study evidence and study quality?

1. What type of evidence is this? (is it the right research design for the research question?)
2. Does this research apply to my topic?
3. How much were the results affected by bias?
4. What are the effects of the results? (Clinical Impact?)


What are the 3 best research designs for assessing the effectiveness of a treatment/intervention?

1. Meta-analysis of RCT studies
2. Systematic reviews of RCT studies
3. RCT studies


What do people usually look at for effectiveness of a treatment/intervention (which is not correct)?

Expert opinion/Editorial note published in magazines or scientific journals


What is the order for the types of studies in terms of strength for testing the effectiveness of a treatment/intervention?

In vitro experiment < animal experiment < Expert opinion/editorial note < case report/case series < Case control studies < Cohort studies < RCT < systematic review < meta-analysis


Why is an expert opinion/editorial note biased?

Biased with life experiences, your own research. Not objective.


Differentiate a systematic review from a meta-analysis

Systematic review
- detailed, comprehensive, structured and critical literature review of all research studies that address a particular clinical issue.
- It also produces a systematic evaluation of the quality of included studies according to a pre-determined criterion.
If the studies included in the systematic review have a comparable quantitative data (sample) and a low degree of variation in their findings, a meta-analysis can be performed.
If similar sample type (e.g. African women)…

A type of systematic review in which the data of all selected studies are pooled quantitatively and reanalyzed using statistical methods. By combining the samples of all selected studies, the overall sample size is increased, which improves the statistical power of the analysis and the estimation of treatment effects.


What are the 3 best research designs for assessing the effectiveness of an etiology/risk factor/prognosis?

1. Meta-analysis of cohort studies
2. Systematic review of cohort studies
3. Cohort studies


What do people usually look at for prognosis/etiology/risk factors (which is not correct)?

People usually look for this type of information in “Expert opinion/Editorial note” published in magazines or even scientific journals.


Which type of study is not in the pyramid for Etiology/prognosis that was in the one for treatment intervention? Which is present in etiology that was not present in treatment?

1. RCT is not in the pyramid
2. Cross-sectional is in the pyramid


What is the order for the types of studies in terms of strength for testing the etiology/risk factors/prognosis?

In vitro < animals < expert opinion/editorial note < Case report/case series < Cross-sectional < Case-control studies < Cohort < Systematic review < Meta-analysis


Name the 10 aspects of effective data

1. Stored
2. Preserved
3. Accessible
4. Discoverable
5. Citable
6. Comprehensible
7. Reviewed
8. Reproducible
9. Reusable
10. Integrated


Explain the "stored" aspect of effective data

"data sheet", excel spreadsheet with all data


Explain the "preserved" aspect of effective data

Archive data, e.g. hard drive, physical copies or clouds/internet


Explain the "accessible" aspect of effective data

Both researchers and machines may want to access the data, for example, for meta-analyses or other kinds of re-use. There are a number of different ways researchers can make their data accessible. They can do this either by depositing their data in a public repository, or by using a data sharing system such as Mendeley Data, where researchers create private data sharing spaces that can be opened to larger communities or the wider public.


Explain the "discoverable" aspect of effective data

An important way to make data more discoverable is to link articles to the data sets these articles are based on. Both Elsevier and other publishers support various mechanisms to set up such links, for instance, through inclusion of data DOIs or data accession numbers, which automatically link to associated data in public databases.


Explain the "citable" aspect of effective data

One of the barriers to data sharing has been that it requires extra work from researchers for little reward. Data citations have the potential to change that because they can be easily incorporated in the current reward system based on article citations. Therefore, researchers should think about providing their data with a unique, persistent and resolvable ID, for which in some cases accession numbers can be used.


Explain the "comprehensible" aspect of effective data

To enable data to be reused, it needs to be clear which units of measurements were used, how the data was collected and which abbreviations and parameters are used. Publishers can help here, and several publishers now publish dedicated data journals, such as Elsevier’s Data in Brief. In these data journals, scientists can provide a thorough description of their datasets, which makes it easier for other researchers to understand the data, process they used to capture the data, and anomalies in the data (or in the capturing process) that a re-user of the data should be aware of, supporting proper data reuse.


Explain the "reviewed" aspect of effective data

While it is very common for research articles to be peer reviewed, this is still quite uncommon for research data. However, it is an important step when it comes to quality control and trustworthiness of data.


Explain the "Reproducible" aspect of effective data

Reproducibility of research results is a big concern for science. To increase the credibility of research results, a Reproducibility Initiative was introduced to validate (for a fee) key experimental results via independent replication. Irreproducibility often originates from missing elements to research data, which are needed in order to achieve the same research results.


Explain the "reusable" aspect of effective data

The key benefit for the wider research community of having research data being shared is the ability to reuse this data. Only when research data is sufficiently trustworthy and reproducible will other researchers re-use the data. This may be to enlarge a sample or to use information in ways it may not originally have been intended for. It is therefore recommended to allow for attaching a user license to datasets already at the very first step of data sharing: at the time of storage and preservation. This will enable any user to clearly understand what they can and cannot do with the data, and can also help ensure they give researchers and data creators the appropriate credit.


Explain the "integrated" aspect of effective data

We believe that it is important to integrate these nine aspects of “highly effective research data.” For instance, data should be preserved so that it can be reused. To be citable, it needs to be accessible. But also, in building systems for data reuse or data citation, the practices of current systems for storing and sharing data need to be taken into account. These nine layers and 10th integration step are intended as a guiding principle by which research data management practices can be ordered and checked, rather than as a prescription for perfect performance.


What are the aspects of effective data in the "SAVED" category?

Stored, preserved


What are the aspects of effective data in the "SHARED" category?

Accessible, discoverable, citable


What are the aspects of effective data in the "TRUSTED" category?

Comprehensible, reviewed, reproducible, reusable


What are some attributes of scientific writing?

– Quite different from literary writing
– Formal writing style that is highly technical (i.e., not casual as you would in conversation or email)
– Not overly descriptive or flowery; sentences not complicated; paragraphs are relatively short
– Goal is to clearly convey information
– Objective
– Usually contains statistics and numbers
– Structured


Differentiate between a review article and a research article

Journal article
- Describes original research conducted by authors
- Utilizes a structured framework
- Deeper in the topic than background info

Review article
- Integrates, summarizes and provides ideas for extending upon prior research on a particular topic
- Authors study existing literature (versus doing new research)
- Background research --> look for review articles first


What are some important aspects of reading articles?

• Takes lots of time to find, select, and collect papers; also to extract relevant information
• Reading and understanding articles is time- consuming and challenging
o Unfamiliar organization
o Unfamiliar terminology and theories
• Read papers at least twice (or 10+ times)
• Take good notes while you do your research (finding articles; reading articles; etc.)


Define plagiarism

“Presenting and using another’s published or unpublished work, including theories, concepts, data, source material, methodologies or findings, including graphs and images, as one’s own, without appropriate referencing and, if required, without permission”


How to manage your articles in background research?

Make tables
Each row is an article (Author name, issue, journal, DOI number/pubmed number)
o Date
o Type of study/research design
o CRAAP (?) - quality - Can use codes for currency (e.g. 1 for last 2 years, 2 for last 5 years etc.)
o Population (Number, Age, sex, ethnicity, location…)
o Dependant variable: Measurement tools (how did they measure Y)
o Independent variable/intervention (how did they measure X)