What Are Some Important Questions To Ask When Evaluating Scientific Conclusions?


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Monica Stott answered
When evaluating scientific conclusions, you must first ensure that you fully understand the findings and conclusions. Read as much background research as you can so you can compare them to other findings and provide some insightful comparisons. If you fully understand the conclusions and the work that went into acquiring them, you are far more likely to evaluate them effectively.
There will be different sections to a scientific paper so you should evaluate it section by section with a specific set of questions in mind.
When evaluating the introduction you should ask:
  • Is there a clear question that is being asked and answered in the paper and if there is, is it clearly explained?
  • In your opinion, do you believe that this topic is important and needs to be further investigated? Is there much work done on this topic already or are there gaps in the research?
  • If you were investigating a similar topic, would you have asked a similar question or would you have focused on something different?
When evaluating the data you should ask:
  • Were the correct variables researched in order to effectively answer the question asked? Could you think of any other variables which could provide more effective findings?
  • Was the data of a high quality and precise in the findings? Were there any weaknesses?
  • Was there enough data to answer the question? Is it possible that having more data could have provided better or more accurate findings? Could more data or greater variables alter the findings?
When analyzing the data you should ask:
  • Were there any inconsistencies or mistakes in the data?
  • What is the strength of the results and what could be done to make them stronger?
  • Did any alternative hypothesis arise after analyzing the data?
  • Was the data well presented and easy to understand?
Finally, there are many questions to be asked in the discussion:
  • Were there alternative explanations and do you agree with them?
  • Are weaknesses or faults addressed?
  • Do the findings help you understand the subject matter more thoroughly and do they provide a contribution to science?

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