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Working with Scientific Literature

This pack provides a stimulating way of learning about scientific journal articles and highlights the difference between ‘research’ and ‘review’ papers.

It is suggested that students start by watching a silent video showing an unusual behaviour in capuchin monkeys, ‘anointing’, for which there are various hypothetical explanations. Students first form their own ideas about why the capuchins behave in this way. Then they are then given a real published scientific ‘research‘ paper (with a summary to guide them) describing an experiment on one aspect of the behaviour. Students discuss whether this research demonstrates what the function of the behaviour is. Students then read a published scientific ‘review‘ paper that describes a historical body of research and evidence on the subject, and discuss the difference between the two types of paper and how each presents evidence for the various hypotheses.

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