如何閱讀以及如寫作實證研究的文章…

之前分享過Andrew Gelman說明如何寫一篇實證研究的文章,他的這一篇算是續作,全文分為兩個部分:檢討一篇實證文章,以及說明寫作的兩種方式。我想對於他的檢討,一般可能較不感興趣,所以我就省略。但是,對於寫作部分,很有參考價值,基本論述摘錄如下:

It shouldn’t take forensics to find the basis for the article’s key claim. And the claims themselves should be presented crisply.

Consider two approaches to writing an article. Both are legitimate:
1. There is a single key finding, a headline result, with everything else being a modification or elaboration of it.
2. There are many little findings, we’re seeing a broad spectrum of results.

Either of these can work, indeed my collaborators and I have published papers of both types.

But I think it’s a good idea to make it clear, right away, where your paper is heading. If it’s the first sort of paper, please state clearly what is the key finding and what is the evidence for it. If it’s the second sort of paper, I’d suggest laying out all the results (positive and negative) in some sort of grid so they can all be visible at once. Otherwise, as a reader, I struggle through the exposition, trying to figure out which results are the most important and what to focus on.

That sort of organization can help the reader and is also relevant when considering questions of multiple comparisons.

Beyond this, it would be helpful to make it clear what you don’t yet know. Not just: The comparison is statistically significant in setting A but not in setting B (or “aspirations had improved among treated individuals and did not change in the placebo or control groups”), but a more direct statement about where are the key remaining uncertainties.



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