One Man & His Blog

Learning to read academic research

University Library
Martin Belam gives a materclass in how to read academic papers properly, based on Neil Thurman’s research:

The report is based on data from 2011. A lot has changed in the media landscape in the last two years, not least in the rise of the use of mobile and tablet devices. According to this chart from analyst Benedict Evans, Apple sold pretty much the same amount of iPad minis & iPads in just six months over the end of 2012/2013 as they had in the 21 months iPad products had been on sale during the period Neil’s report covers. It is improbable that this massive rise in sales has not shifted consumption patterns.

Reporting of science is bad enough that at least one person has built a career out of debunking it. Reporting of academic papers generally is pretty shoddy, because people don’t take the time to examine the context and methodology of the research.

Oh, and when the research seems to confirm something people want to be true – well, then, any kind of objectivity in reporting goes out the window.

You can find my take on the research in the post about student journalism choices.

Photo by St Louis University, Madrid and used under a Creative Commons licence

Written by

Adam Tinworth   Adam Tinworth

Adam has been a blogger for over 20 years, and a journalist for more than 25. He currently works as a consultant and trainer, helping people do better, more engaged online journalism.


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