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PHSL3062w in-class exercise_find the hypothesis

Short (10’) in-class assignment. This assignment will take place in the context of a lecture on how to approach primary scientific literature (research reports). Students will be shown the introductory section of an original scientific study and asked to work in groups of 2-3 to answer the following questions. We will then spend ~10’ discussing their answers. (Although not graded, the answers will be collected at the end of class, as a means of taking attendance.)

1) What is the general subject that the scientists address in this paper?

2) What is the specific hypothesis that is being tested?

3) Why should we care about this study? (It’s likely that your tax dollars are funding this research. Have the authors conveyed a sense of what this study should add to our knowledge of physiology and why this is important knowledge?)


Will you have similar follow-up assignments that evaluate the objectives of other sections of research reports (e.g. Abstract, Methods)? This seems like a nice way to familiarize students with scientific journal articles.

I like question 3, but in the recap I'd want to point out that sometimes we achieve scientific breakthroughs that aren't exactly obvious from the original study (e.g., discovery of penicillin).