Summarize the key aspects of the Methods into bullet points as if you were going to put it on a poster.
Science of Sex Egg Size and Lipid Content of Lake Trout Paper
Methods sections in journal articles are designed to inform the reader what and how and experiment was run. By reading a methods section you should be able to reconstruct the experiment. Authors should convey what the focal organism of the study was – with its common and scientific name listed (i.e. Cane toads, Rhinella marina), how many and what sex, and age if appropriate. Additionally, they will describe the experimental treatment groups, set up, what measures where taken of the animals. This can include descriptions of testing arenas or study areas. Lastly, they will describe how samples taken were processed, and what statistics were run on the data collected.
Goal of Assessment: In this assessment you will learn to pull out the key information from a methods section as if you were going to use that information to construct a poster presentation. You will also be able to determine if there is enough information to replicate the study.
The Assessment: You will choose a methods section provided below and simplify the key points of the assessment into bullet points as if you were presenting it on a poster. You will determine if a figure will help you convey any of this information, and if you think you need more information to fully understand what the researchers did. Also, we will check in that you are using appropriate referencing style.
Managing methods tutorial: Thinking like a poster presenter and journal reviewer.
This is straight pretty forward.
As a poster presenter you want to make sure your methods are simple bullet points that someone can read and quickly understand what animals you used, how many, what and how you tested with them, and what data collected. In the paper methods are presented with extensive detail. The trick on a poster is to simplify it and state the basic ideas. Posters typically don’t go into extensive statistics details, just notes the basic information (see below). You don’t want to overwhelm the section with irrelevant information. You do how even want to make sure that there is enough information there for a reader to be able to reconstruct the experiment in their mind. It is common for people – especially on posters – to make figures to help explain a behavioural set-up. This is done to supplement the words used to describe it.
As a journal reviewer you have to determine if the “Materials and Methods” information provided is again enough information to reconstruct the hypothesis, if they is any extraneous information, and if their description is really enough to address the stated hypothesis. Sometimes missing information isn’t something you would think about unless you are going to re-run the experiment – such as time of day samples collected, temperature of room, light levels, or did the same person take all the measures. All these things can impact animals behaviour of variation in measures, so are important considerations.
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FYI – Statistics. I will talk more about this in the next assessment, but as stats are laid out in Methods sections I just want to touch base on them. Most stats run today are done with a freeware program called R and its associated packages. Most biologists and ecologists working with complex systems do what is called modelling their data – it allows you to account for more interactions between variables than just running an ANOVA. Don’t let the wording scare you, just worry about what variables they are testing (e.g. age effect on time it take to do a maze for example).
FYI – Reference formats:
We are using Harvard Referencing style – this is a reference guide (link) on how to do it properly via MQU library. Review this for proper in text and reference list formatting. However, the easy way to do it for reference list formating:
3) Do make sure all the information you need is present! Newer articles sometimes lack full information in Google scholar.
To be completed in a document and submitted to TurnItIn – you only get one upload.
Please include you Name, Student ID number, and number your answers as they are asked below to avoid confusion with marking.
You do not need to include a title page with your name and ID. Please use a legible font and text size. Normal spacing is fine. Please save file with at least sir name, your student number, and assessment #.
1. Choose ONE of the “Material and Methods” below, noting which one you picked in your document by putting the citation in proper Harvard reference format as if in a reference list (1 point). All information you need is provided with the Methods information – the original PDF is provided just if you are curious.
Click on “Method #” for prepared document. Original article pdf if provided if you are interested – do note I didn’t use the entire methods sections form these papers, so do the assessment only with the Methods documents provided!
Methods 1 – Fish – orignal pdf
Methods 2 – Ripe Worms – orignal pdf
Methods 3 – Bees – orignal pdf
Methods 4 – Macaques – orignal pdf
Methods 5 – Sheep – orignal pdf
2. Summarize the key aspects of the Methods into bullet points as if you were going to put it on a poster. Remember bullet points are usually short thoughts, not long sentences. (3 points total: 1 point adequate number to address hypothesis, 1 point appropriate simplification wording, 1 point presented in logical order).
All should have a MINIMUM of 5 bullet points – MAXIMUM of 12 bullet points
12 point would be a bit much for a poster, but some of the studies are complex. Remember you don’t be wordy and bullet every little thing, you just need to give enough information to convey who, what, how was tested.
Suggestion – take a look at some of the sample posters and even the poster assessment info/methods/data files for examples what to pull out. Make sure they relate to/support the hypothesis stated!
3. Note if there is any additional information you feel the author could have provided to better understand/replicate the experiment (1 point).
Think about this based on what is presented, as I have purposefully cut short the methods from the papers. Don’t just default to “What was the temperature or light levels”. Although these are important, most studies don’t directly mention them