YOUR DATA

Objective data that you collect can be premises.


Science is empirical: ultimately based on measurements of the observable world. Objective measurements (data) that you collect yourself, and calculations based on your measurements, can be used as premises for reasoned arguments. For example, if you collect data on sprint performance from two groups of athletes that differ in caffeine consumption, you could construct the argument:


PREMISE: Our measurable (null) hypothesis is that sprint performance will not be significantly different between the caffeine-drinking group and the caffeine-free group. We used sprint speed to measure sprint performance.

(N.B. a hypothesis can be a premise if the hypothesis is the conclusion of a strong reasoned argument based on peer-reviewed, objective research. For simplicity, the argument leading to the hypothesis is not presented here.)

PREMISE: Sprint speed in the caffeine-drinking group was 11% higher than in the caffeine-free group (t-test, P<0.001; Figure 1).


CONCLUSION: Therefore, we reject our measurable hypothesis that there is no significant difference in sprint performance between the caffeine-drinking and caffeine-free groups


For measurements to be strong premises, the measurements must be collected in a scientifically rigorous way. Scientific rigor involves many practices that are outside the scope of the present discussion. However, some important aspects of rigorous data collection are:


1) Objective, quantitative, reliable, and valid measurement techniques.

2) Appropriate controls and normalization.

3) Appropriate data analysis and statistical tests.


Place references in parentheses at the END of sentences.


For hypotheses-driven research, raw data by themselves are not the most important aspect of any section of a manuscript. The role of raw data is to create premises to support reasoned arguments. Because of the supportive role of data, place references to figures, tables etc. at the END of sentences. For example, the sentence "Sprint speed in the caffeine-drinking group was 11% higher than in the caffeine-free group (t-test, P<0.001; Figure 1)" references the figure at the end of the sentence.

Objective, reliable, and valid data that you collect in a rigorous manner can be used as premises for reasoned arguments. To use data as a premise, you must refer directly to specific data. Place references to figures and tables at the END of sentences.