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Read the Scientific Study Behind the News Story: Primary vs Secondary Sources

This assignment compares scientific studies in academic journals to the newspaper articles that report them. You will learn to distinguish between these two types of articles. Read  the articles listed below. Then complete the quiz, using the handout and tip sheet to help you find the answers. To print out the articles:  In Blackboard, click on the article links below, you will see a yellow screen – enter your Blackboard Username and Password to access to the articles.

Information Literacy Standard covered:
N.J. Information Literacy Standard Gateway Skill 3(c): Distinguishes between primary vs. secondary sources in a subject or discipline specific context.

!!Please note!! To save time, read the handout and tip sheet, first.  This will help you answer the questions on the quiz. You need only skim the articles.

The Newspaper Article: Newspaper articles and other popular press often summarize scientific studies to make them accessible to the public. They are called secondary sources. This article is from the New York Times, a highly respected newspaper.

 Natasha Singer.  (2010, September 19). Better Health, With a Little Help From Our Friends :[Money and Business/Financial Desk]. New York Times  (Late Edition (east Coast)),  p. BU.3.  Retrieved February 18, 2011, from Banking Information Source. (Document ID: 2141246711).

The Scientific Study: A scientific study usually appears first in a scientific journal. This is called a primary source. This article is from The New England Journal of Medicine, a highly respected medical journal.

Nicholas A. Christakis, & James H. Fowler. (2007). The Spread of Obesity in a Large Social Network over 32 Years. The New England Journal of Medicine, 357(4), 370-9.  Retrieved February 18, 2011, from Research Library. (Document ID: 1310499551).

  


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