Preprint articles as a tool for teaching data analysis and scientific communication

Lisa Z. Scheifele, Nikolaos Tsotakos, Michael J. Wolyniak

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


The skill of analyzing and interpreting research data is central to the scientific process, yet it is one of the hardest skills for students to master. While instructors can coach students through the analysis of data that they have either generated themselves or obtained from published articles, the burgeoning availability of preprint articles provides a new potential pedagogical tool. We developed a new method in which students use a cognitive apprenticeship model to uncover how experts analyzed a paper and compare the professional's cognitive approach to their own. Specifically, students first critique research data themselves and then identify changes between the preprint and final versions of the paper that were likely the results of peer review. From this activity, students reported diverse insights into the processes of data presentation, peer review, and scientific publishing. Analysis of preprint articles is therefore a valuable new tool to strengthen students' information literacy and understanding of the process of science.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere0261622
JournalPloS one
Issue number12 December
StatePublished - Dec 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General


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