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STAT 112

1: Find news mentioning a research study

Think of a topic that really interests you. Look for a news story mentioning a research study.  You want something geared towards a popular audience--everyday people--no special expertise required to read it.  To qualify for the assignment, the popular news story must include a statistic from a research study. 

  • Use a search engine like Google or DuckDuckGo.  Remember, you are looking for mass media stories.  Look for popular news websites  (newspapers, television).  A lot of the results have good information, but aren't strictly from mass media.
  • Use the library's news databases.  For this assignment, I especially like America's News or register for New York Times Online Pass (both linked below). NEW: We also have access to the Wall Street Journal. Register using your USC email.
Try using phrases like:  "recent study"   "new study"  "study finds"   "study found"   "study reports"   "researchers found"  along with a word or phrase about your topic (ex. dementia, brain, mental health, nurses, pets)

2: Find research study mentioned in news

Clues to look for in the news article:
  • Is there a link to the study?
  • A journal name or article title
  • The year the study was completed
  • Who performed the study? This could be names of people or a research institute.
  • What was the study about?
If you know:
  1. Direct link, but can't access the full source  → Use Find It with "article title" or try a journal search
  2. Article title  → Use Find It and put quotations marks around the article title (ex: "Association Between Consumption of Ultra-processed Foods and Cognitive Decline")
  3. Journal Title → Search Find It by using the specific Journal Search option
  4. Names of researchers → If no other clues, Google each author or the research organization and see if they give more information about the scholarly source or maybe even link to it
  5. Topic  → Can you find a different news story reporting on the same study?  Maybe it gives more details. If it isn't too recent, try a subject database

Do you know where the article is published but the library doesn't have it?

Important Links

3: Find scholarly studies on same topic

What are the most important concepts?  What are different terms for each concept? 



intervention, intervening

peer, peers





teen, teens, teenagers

adolescents, adolescence

middle school


Construct a search. Keep track, you'll probably try many different combinations. 



terms must be present, narrows results


any of the terms may be present, broadens results.  Use on the same line / in same box


wildcard looks for different endings

teen*     finds teen, teens, teenage, teenagers

adolescen*    finds adolescence, adolescents

Tips to know it's scholarly

  • Do you see an abstract or a summary? 
    • You may be able to tell if the study will include statistics by reading the abstract first.
  • Looking at the full article? Check if the scholarly article or report has a Methodology section. 
    • These will be good ones to choose for your annotated bibliography and this section will have lots of the details you'll use in your annotation.
  • Look for a limit of Peer Reviewed or Academic Journals.
    • Academic Search Complete has both limits.  CINAHL (a nursing database) has a box you can check for Research Articles.  PsycInfo (psychology database) has a Methodology limit and most are for research studies.

Where to search for scholarly sources

Annotation Questions and Worksheet

When reading your sources, consider the following points and make a note of them to fully understand the frame of each source

News Articles:
  • Was the statistic reported accurately?
  • Were there other statistics that could have been reported?  Why do you think the news writer picked the statistic(s) used?
  • Does the media story just say there is an effect or does it try to communicate the size of the effect?
  • Does it mentioned who the participants were?  The population studied?
  • Were the findings of the study explained well to the popular audience?
  • Did the news story quote anyone not involved with the study or mention other research?
Scholarly Articles:
  • Population
  • Data collection method(s)
  • Variables
  • Variable measurement method(s)
  • Types of analysis used
  • Weaknesses/ limitations of the study
  • Strengths of the study
  • Confounding variables
  • Were the differences practically significant?
  • Are there any funding biases/ conflicts?