How to Evaluate a Study

  1. Classify the study as a sample survey, an observational study, an experiment, something else, or some combination.
  2. Consider the 7 Critical Components. In particular:
    1. Check for common pitfalls associated with that type of study.
    2. Determine if there is incomplete information.
    3. See what possible explanations are provided by the authors. Are the results and/or explanations compatible with what you already know or surprising/contradictory?
    4. Consider alternative explantations.
    5. Determine if the resulsts are meaningful enough to warrant a change (in policty, behavior, attitudes, etc.).


Source: Seeing Through Statistics, 2nd ed. by Jessica Utts, page 93.

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Randall Pruim
Department of Mathematics and Statistics
Calvin College
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Last Modified: Thursday, 30-Aug-2001 12:17:13 EDT