# the-basic-idea-of-the-project-is-to-find-a-study-in-the-wild-and-evaluate-it-according-to-the-appropriate-six-step-program-theoretical-statistical-or-causal-decision-problems-are-excluded-because-they-are-generally-too-complex-to-evaluate-without

The basic idea of the project is to find a study “in the wild” and evaluate it according to the appropriate six step program (theoretical, statistical, or causal). Decision problems are excluded because they are generally too complex to evaluate without a lot of manipulation and preparation of the information you can easily find in the wild in popular media reports.

The report can be done in either of two possible formats. Which you choose should be clearly stated in your report.

1. an instructive example properly worked out in detail like the examples in the textbook chapters that teach readers how to understand that example as a particular kind of study (theoretical, statistical, causal) and how to evaluate it.
2. a “homework” problem to be solved by the reader, like the homework problems at the ends of the textbook chapters. In this style, the report would be a briefly summarized “episode” (like the homework problems), followed by a detailed answer key that goes through the steps of the evaluation and gives properly constructed diagrams of the study and (if appropriate) the data analysis.

The report should take about 2 pages plus diagrams. It should be written in clear, well- crafted English up to the standard of our textbook. The clarity, spelling, grammar, and structure of your writing counts in this assignment. College students should be able to write at a professional level, worthy of publication and reading by people who pay for your ideas.

The study you identify can be theoretical, statistical, or causal and the evaluation must be correct in all steps and details.

Since I claimed that any scientific study can be evaluated as a study of a theoretical hypothesis, there may be more than one way to evaluate the study you find. Note that studies with statistical data would only be suitable candidates for theoretical rather than statistical or causal evaluation if the statistical data analysis in the report is far beyondthe correlation tools we have learned in class or there is too little information to follow the format of the statistical 6-step program.

I strongly suggest you search for a report of the sort we have looked at in class or “in the wild” – a news report of a scientific study that gives the gist of the study and possibly enough to evaluate on its own, but for which you might need to dip into the original technical scientific report for a few clues or bits of information (like sample sizes). I don’t recommend going straight to the technical scientific literature because the methods used there are likely beyond our tools and abilities.

You are NOT permitted to use any of the studies discussed in class, that you have submitted as homework or Quizzes before, or that you found in the textbook, or posted at the “Science in the News” section of the course Google Site. The project is to find a new example or case to evaluate.

You should meet with your group (if you are going to work in a group) during 8th and 9th weeks (Tuesday November 12 – Wednesday November 27) before Thanksgiving to get started because there is not much time after Thanksgiving this quarter before the end of classes. You need to be set up and launched on your project soon so you can work independently during Thanksgiving break and beyond.

Caution: projects slapped together in the last week of the quarter are not likely to get a good grade because it takes time to find a good report of scientific reasoning to evaluate. You may even need to try to evaluate a case that you then give up on as too hard and have to find a back-up study to do. You also have to figure out how best to evaluate the report, how to describe the episode in an appropriate way, and to write up the evaluation in a suitable format.

During 8th week and 9th week of classes, I suggest you work to: find a study, distribute it to all group members (if you are working with a group), and begin a discussion to identify what kind it is and work on understanding the reported study, which means work through Steps 1-4 of the appropriate six step program.

You might want to use Google Docs or other online methods of collaboration if you choose to work in a small group. You can also use email or other communication methods you can all agree on. No one in a group should be asked to sign up for a social media service they don’t want, such as Facebook or Twitter.

Be careful developing documents online since anyone in your group may be able to delete all of the content in your document or the whole file by accident. It is wise to save copies of your work in progress offline to your own computer from time to time as you work, just in case of an accident. Every quarter, someone discovers the hard way that they should make offline copies and they should back up their laptop. Google retains versions of your edited cloud documents, so it is possible to recover from such accidents if you are using Google Docs, but I find it is extra insurance to make an offline copy.

During 9th and 10th weeks, complete an evaluation of your study, now that you understand it. Write up a brief report (up to 2 pages or so, plus an extra page for diagrams) presenting your evaluation in six steps, including an appropriate diagram or

Revised Nov 18, 2019

diagrams of the sort we use for theoretical, statistical, or causal studies. Note that for causal studies, we generally need two diagrams: one of the study design (RED, PRO, or RET) and one of the data (like correlation data).

Your report should be detailed enough that readers of your report get the gist of the study without having to read the original report for themselves, but it should not be a copy and paste job from the report you find into the report you make. And you must submit a copy of the original study (not a link) with your report submission to Canvas.

You must cite and give credit to the original report so a reader can find the original report. This requires proper bibliography. You may choose the format for your reference/ bibliography, but it must be possible for a reader to find the original report from the content of your bibliographic information. A web link is NOT sufficient for this purpose, because links can break or be taken down or exist behind a paywall. So you MUST include full bibliographic information: author, title, date, publisher, page numbers, URL (if online), and date you consulted the item (if online).

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