Abstract: A paragraph of 200 to 300 words that accurately reflects the contents of a research article or literature review.
Adaptability: The ability to change positively and with ease to fit changed circumstances.
Aim: The goal or objective of a scientific research study; to determine the effect of the independent variable(s) on the dependent variable(s). Appears in an abstract or introduction of an original investigation.
Analysis: The ability to take a process or thing and break it down into its basic parts and draw connections.
Analysis grid: A tool that helps with the careful examination and breakdown of a research paper.
Analysis of variance (ANOVA): A statistical procedure used to test the degree to which the dependent variable values for 3 or more groups differ in an experiment. Apply To use information in new situations.
Author–date reference system: A type of referencing system where in-text citations are indicated by placing the author’s surname and the date of publication in brackets, and the reference list is in alphabetical order by author’s surname.
Balanced groups: Different experimental groups with no obvious differences.
Baseline measurements: Dependent variables measured at the beginning of an experiment; generated to balance groups or to compare with the same dependent variables measured throughout or at the end of the experiment.
Bibliography: A list at the end of a book or article that shows the works used by the author in writing the article or book, or a list of works that a reader might find useful.
Citation: A reference to a book, paper or author, especially in an academic work.
Column graph: A figure that uses bar shapes to plot the mean values.
Communication platform: The mode of communicating information, such as podcast, video, brochure, poster or book.
Conclusion: The answer to your research question; it summarises how the results of a scientific study support or fail to support the hypothesis. Appears at the end of the discussion section of a research article.
Control group: A group of animals or humans that receive experimental conditions identical to that of the treatment group (eg for animals’ diet and housing conditions), except for the independent variable(s) of interest.
Control group experimental design: Experimental design in which the participants are divided into two groups, one of which is designated the control and the other the experimental group.
Correlation: A statistical approach to determine how well two variables are related to each other.
Create: To produce new or original work.
Critical analysis: An examination and evaluation of a text or other work that may help us to understand the interaction of the particular components that contribute to the value of the work; it is not a quest to find fault with the work.
Critical thinking: The analysis and evaluation of an issue that is based on sound logic.
Crossover experimental design: Each participant is measured under the control and experimental treatment conditions, with one-half of the participants experiencing the conditions in reverse order.
Cultural literacy: The ability to understand and participate fluently in a given culture; citizens share a common body of knowledge that allows the building of positive communication, acceptance and understanding in a changing world.
Demographic analysis: Determination of the age, sex and racial composition of a population.
Dependent variable: The variable (or variables) that changes in an experiment as a result of the
Descriptive statistics: A quantitative summary of features of a dataset; includes mean and standard deviation.
Discipline-specific knowledge and skills: Capabilities specific to the field of study (eg human physiology), but not covered by other more generic capabilities such as literacies and communication skills, personal and professional skills, and inquiry
and analytical skills.
Disposition analysis: Determination of the usual attitude or mood of a particular group of people, their tendency to act or think in a particular way, as well as their needs, goals and interests.
Double-blind study: Study in which the individual participants and the people administering the experiment are unaware of critical aspects of the experiment, with this information being held by a third party and only revealed to the investigators
when the study is completed.
Employability: A set of achievements, understandings and personal attributes that make individuals more likely to gain employment and to be successful in their chosen occupations.
EndNote: A software package used to manage bibliographies and references when writing scientific papers.
Error bars: Graphical representation of the variability of data around the mean (eg standard deviation).
Evaluate: To critique and appraise information to come to a conclusion, and to defend the conclusion.
Evidence: Data or information on which to base proof, or to establish truth or falsehood.
Experiment: A test conducted under controlled conditions to test a hypothesis.
Experimental design: A research design that eliminates all factors that influence outcome except for the variable being studied.
Extraneous variable: An unwanted variable that is not the independent variable of interest, but influences the outcome of an experiment, and therefore adds error to an experiment.
General public: People in society; used when contrasting people in general with a small group – for example, scientists.
Generic skills: Important in science and other fields, and often referred to as graduate capabilities. They can include literacies and communication skills, inquiry and analytical skills, personal and professional skills, and discipline-specific knowledge and skills.
Google Scholar: An online, freely accessible search engine used to search for scholarly literature across a range of publishing formats and disciplines.
Graduate capabilities: Generic skills that are important in science. They can include literacies and communication skills, inquiry and analytical skills, personal and professional skills, and discipline-specific knowledge and skills.
Guideline: A general rule, principle or piece of advice designed to streamline particular processes according to a set routine or sound practice, and, by definition, not mandatory.
Human physiology: The science of the mechanical, physical and biochemical functions of normal humans, or human tissues or organs, primarily at the level of organs and systems.
Hypothesis: An assumption or prediction based on sound evidence (educated guess) assumed for the sake of testing its soundness; a prediction of the effect of the independent variable(s) on the dependent variable(s) in a scientific research study.
Independent learning: When an individual executes autonomy over their learning and evaluates their own learning.
Independent t-test: A statistical test to determine whether there is a statistically significant difference between the means in two unrelated groups.
Independent variable: The variable that the investigator intentionally changes in a scientific experiment to observe its effect on other variables.
Inquiry and analytical skills: Capabilities around critical thinking, creative problem solving, inquiry and research.
In-text-citation: A reference placed immediately after the information being cited, which helps readers easily reconcile the information and the source.
Introduction: The section of an original investigation research article that provides a brief literature review that encapsulates the rationale for the study, as well as the hypotheses and aims.
Investigator: A researcher or scientist who implements the scientific method to generate new scientific knowledge.
Knowledge analysis: Determination of the knowledge base on a given topic area in a given cohort of people.
Laws: A rule established by some authority and enforced by judicial decision.
Line graph: A figure that plots the mean values and connects the points with a line to show something that happens over time.
Literacies and communication skills: Capabilities around writing, speaking, quantitative literacy and cultural literacy.
Literature review: An academic paper that is an assessment of a body of research on a particular topic; they are secondary sources and don’t report on original investigations.
Mean: Gives a very good idea about the central tendency of the data being collected; determined by adding all the data points in a dataset and then dividing the total by the number of points.
Methods: The section of a research article that explains how the original investigation was done.
Number reference system: A type of referencing system where a source is cited in the text using the number assigned to that source in the reference list.
Observation: The active acquisition of information from a primary source, either through our senses, or data recorded during an experiment using scientific tools and instruments.
One-factor analysis of variance (ANOVA): A statistical procedure used to test the degree to which the dependent variable values for 3 or more groups differ in an experiment where there is 1 independent variable.
Original investigation research article: Published account of a new study undertaken on a particular topic.
Paired t-test: A statistical test to determine whether there is a statistically significant difference between the means in two groups each containing the same subjects.
Participant: An individual who participates in a research study as a human subject and is the target of observation by researchers.
Peer review: A process by which scholarly work is checked by a group of experts in the same field to make sure it meets the necessary standards before it is published or accepted.
Personal and professional skills: Capabilities around teamwork, leadership, autonomy and independence, ethical behaviour, adaptability, and study and learning skills.
Physiology: The branch of biology that deals with the normal functions of living organisms and their parts.
Placebo: A dummy medication that has no therapeutic effect given to the control group in a study that is investigating the effect of a medication on relevant physiological variables.
Post hoc test: A stepwise multiple comparisons procedure used to identify sample means that are significantly different from each other when a significant difference between 3 or more sample means has been determined by an analysis of variance (ANOVA).
Problem solving: The process of finding solutions to difficult or complex issues.
Pseudoscience: A form of science without substance; a claim, belief or practice presented as scientific but doesn’t adhere to the scientific method.
PubMed: An online, freely accessible search engine for accessing primarily the MEDLINE database of references and abstracts on life sciences and biomedical topics.
p value: A statistical value that helps you to determine the significance of your results; a conventional (and arbitrary) threshold is a value of less than 0.05.
Quantitative literacy: The ability to understand and interpret numerical information, and the ability to apply mathematical skills when solving real-world problems.
Random assignment: An experimental technique used where human participants or animal subjects are arbitrarily assigned to different groups in an experiment, because the experimenters are confident that this will result in balanced groups.
Reference: The use of a source of information to ascertain something.
Reference list: A list of all the sources used as intext references in a scientific paper that enables the reader of the work to locate and verify the sources used.
Referencing style: The particular format of a reference that is used throughout the reference list for consistency.
Reliable evidence: Stable and consistent data generated from an assessment tool.
Remember: To recall facts and basic concepts.
Results: The findings of an original research investigation.
Science: The pursuit and application of knowledge and understanding of the natural and social world following a systematic methodology based on evidence.
Science literacy: The knowledge and understanding of scientific concepts and processes required for personal decision making, participation in civic and cultural affairs, and economic productivity.
Scientific figure: A standalone and interpretable graphic representation of scientific research findings that plots descriptive statistics and has significance symbols, labelled x and y axes with units, and a caption.
Scientific figure caption: Conveys relevant information about a graphic representation of scientific research findings; appears below the graph and includes a descriptive title, the summary statistics that have been plotted, and a statement
as to whether or not there is a statistical difference between results.
Scientific literature: The aggregate of scholarly publications written to inform on the latest achievements of science, and within an academic field; includes primary, secondary, tertiary and grey literature.
Scientific method: A method of procedure consisting of systematic observation, and the formulation, testing and modification of hypotheses.
Scientific table: A standalone and interpretable tabular representation of scientific research findings that has summary statistics presented as numerical data, significance symbols and a caption.
Scientific table caption: Conveys relevant information about a tabular representation of scientific research findings, appears above the table and includes a descriptive title, the descriptive statistics presented, and a statement as to whether or not there is a statistical difference between results.
Scientific theory: A conceptual scheme supported by a large number of observations and not yet found lacking.
Scientific units: A standard of measurement (eg metre, kilogram) used to quantify variables. Some well-known variables and their standard of measurement in physiology are heart rate (beats per minute), mean arterial pressure (mmHg), blood
glucose (millimoles per litre) and ventilation (litres per minute).
Scientist: An expert in one or more areas of science who creates knowledge via systematic activity or implementation of the scientific method, and shares this information with other experts in the field.
Secondary literature: Publications that rely on primary sources for information, and where it is not a requirement for the authors to have done the work themselves, since the purpose of the publication is to summarise and synthesise knowledge in a specific area for other scientists who already have an understanding of the topic.
Self-directed learning: When an individual executes autonomy over their learning and evaluates their own learning.
Significance symbol: A character used in a scientific figure or table to represent statistical difference between datasets.
Single-blind study: Experiment in which the individual participants do not know whether they are are control or treatment group participants.
Standard deviation: A measure of the dispersion of a set of data from its mean.
Statistical analysis: The science that deals with the collection, analysis and interpretation of numerical data.
Statistical significance: A result from testing or experimentation that is not likely to occur randomly or by chance, but is instead likely to be attributable to a specific cause; a conventional (and arbitrary) threshold for declaring this is a
p value of less than 0.05.
Statistics: The science that deals with the collection, analysis and interpretation of numerical data.
Student scientist: An individual who is undergoing formal education where they are learning about science and how to practise science, as well as developing scientific skills and attributes such as teamwork, communication, and personal and
Summary synthesis: The ability to combine discrete pieces of information into a number of whole parts, and then summarise the whole parts and draw connections between them.
Synthesise: To combine discrete pieces of information into a whole.
Synthesis grid: A tool that helps with the amalgamation of findings from separate original investigations.
Team: A group of people with a full set of complementary skills who work together to achieve a common goal.
Teamwork: The combined efforts and actions of a group of people working together to achieve a common goal.
Transferable skills: Important in science and other fields, and often referred to as graduate capabilities. They can include literacies and communication skills, inquiry and analytical skills, personal and professional skills, and discipline-specific knowledge.
Treatment group: The experimental group that is exposed to the independent variable(s) of interest.
Treatment order control experimental design: Experimental design in which each participant is measured under the control and experimental treatment conditions, with one-half of the participants experiencing the conditions in reverse order.
Two-factor analysis of variance (ANOVA): A statistical procedure used to test the degree to which the dependent variable values for 3 or more groups differ in an experiment where there are 2 independent variables.
Two-tailed statistical test: A test of significance to determine if there is a relationship between variables in either direction.
Understand: To comprehend ideas or concepts.
Valid evidence: Data generated during an experiment that have a sound, factual basis.
X axis: The line on a graph that runs horizontally (left–right) through zero.
X-axis title: The title for data presented on the x axis.
Y axis: The line on a graph that runs vertically (up–down) through zero.
Y-axis title: The title for data presented on the y axis.