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Know the Science: How To Make Sense of a Scientific Journal Article

The words “Scientific Article” appear at the top of the page, with a fictional title, Clinical Study of Integrative Health Practices, below them. A fictional list of authors, James A. Smith, Ph.D., Karen B. Jones, M.D., Michael C. Helix, Ph.D., M.D., Lauren B. Smartz, Ph.D., R.N., F.N.P., Bryan S. Miller, Ph.D., M.D., appears under the title. The left column shows labeled sections of the journal article: Abstract, Methods, Results, Discussion, Key Words, References. All sections except Key Words are clickable. Gray lines appear in place of the text in each section in the left column and in the entire right column. These words appear at the lower right: Medical Journal Volume 30, Issue 8, August 2022AbstractMethodsResultsDiscussionReferences

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Size of the Study

The number of people participating in a study, or the sample size, can affect the outcome of a study and what the results mean.

Small Large Sample

  • Small sample sizes may produce inconclusive results.
  • Small sample sizes are more likely to produce results due to chance.
  • Large sample sizes may give more reliable results.
  • Large sample sizes may better reflect the population.
  • Large sample sizes may increase the chances that the result was accurate.