1. An article contains a few sections. Please, define each, discuss what purpose they serve, and provide examples of what each may contain.
Reporting is claimed to be an important element of the scientific method. Shaughnessy, Zechmeister and Zechmeister (2009) write that scientists report their findings in ways that make it easier for the reader to separate actual observations from the conclusions made on their basis. In most cases, scientists use the format of a research article to report the results of their experiments. Consequently, they are entitled to follow the basic structure for a research article and make sure that it contains all necessary elements.
Any article begins with a title, whose purpose is to attract readers and make them interested in reading the text (Fischer & Zigmond, n.d). The title is to be short but descriptive so that the reader knows what to expect from the main text. Authors and addresses follow the title. According to Fischer and Zigmond (n.d.), the reader should know the names and titles/positions of those, who are responsible for creating and delivering the report. Addresses are used to provide the audience with authors' accurate contact information (Fischer & Zigmond, n.d.). Then, an abstract is created in the form of a brief summary of the report (Fischer & Zigmond, n.d.). It contains a limited version of all elements included in the report, such as introduction, methods, results, and discussion (Fischer & Zigmond, n.d.).
When these preliminary elements of the article are completed, the authors write an introduction. Its purpose is to provide the research background and familiarize the reader with the topic and object of the research report (Fischer & Zigmond, n.d.). The introduction should not exceed 500 words. It is followed by the methods section of the written work. The purpose of the methods section is two-fold. On the one hand, it should provide the reader with the detailed and accurate information on how the experiment was performed. On the other hand, it must be accurate enough to let the reader replicate the study (Fischer & Zigmond, n.d.). After the methods section come the results, which include the data collected during the study (Fischer & Zigmond, n.d.). If the article is short, the results section may also include the elements of the discussion section. In other cases, the discussion section follows the results and contains a summary of conclusions, implications, relation to other results, and a grand summary of all results and conclusions (Fischer & Zigmond, n.d.). Finally, the author includes acknowledgments and references. The latter include all citations and articles that have been used and cited in the main text. Tables and figures should also be included.
Any scientific report normally includes a literature review section. Its purpose is to discuss and evaluate the current state of literature related to the topic of the report. In extreme cases, literature reviews are designed as a simple summary of different sources. Almost always, they are organized in a logical sequence and represent a comprehensive synthesis of the literature relevant to the object of the study/report. For many scientists, literature reviews serve a double purpose. On the one hand, they enlighten the reader. On the other hand, any gaps identified in literature justify the need for the study reported by the scientist. Therefore, any research article that does not contain a literature review section is likely to look and sound incomplete.
2. You are trying to figure out who stole the Snicker's bar from your office, and you notice a Snicker's bar in Jim's office, down the hall. You conclude that Jim stole your Snicker's bar. Is this an example of inductive or deductive reasoning, or both? Why?
The story of the stolen Snicker's bar represents a unique combination of inductive and deductive reasoning. On the one hand, deductive reasoning is when researcher uses general information to arrive at more specific conclusions. It is possible to say that deductive reasoning is the very basic element of the thinking and reasoning processes since most researchers start their inquiry with some general statement and gradually move to more specific conclusions, based on the evidence they manage to collect. The scientific method seems to be the most common representation of deductive reasoning when researchers develop a hypothesis based on some general assumptions or information and arrange scientific experiments to test them. The story does not provide any evidence to prove that the Snicker's bar was stolen. However, when the narrator sees it in Jim's office, he/she decides that it was stolen. The narrator confirms the fact, based on the general assumption that the item has disappeared, and it is in Jim's office.
On the other hand, inductive reasoning comes into play, when general conclusions are made on the basis of specific examples. It is opposite to deductive reasoning and allows researchers to develop theories and make generalizations, based on the specific evidence they obtain and observations they make. Inductive reasoning also contributes to the efficacy of the scientific method, by letting the researcher form theories that will be tested or used later in a suitable situation. That the Snicker's bar is in Jim's office leads to a general conclusion that he has stolen it. In reality, nothing in the story suggests that the Snicker's bar in Jim's office is the same that has disappeared from the narrator's office. Apparently, the narrator was not thorough, when considering possible causes of the situation and the way it progressed. In science and daily life, even the most comprehensive problem can have more than one cause/explanation. As a result, any conclusions should be based on actual evidence rather than deductive or inductive assumptions.
- Fischer, B.A. & Zigmond, M.J. (n.d.). Components of a research article.
- Shaughnssy, J.J., Zechmeister, E.B. & Zechmeister, J.S. (2009). Research methods in psychology. NY: McGraw-Hill.