EPQ (Quick Question btw) I don't understand what the mark scheme is asking me to do.

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xDdraig
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The Edexcel EPQ mark scheme (from school) says that:
"The learner makes use of the distinction between fact, speculation and subjective opinion in evaluating the reliability of sources" (btw the learner is me)

Can someone explain to me what its trying to tell me to do.

For example, if I evaluated a source like this:
"The authors aren’t that famous in this field, but they use facts instead of subjective opinions which does increase their reliability."

Is this what the mark scheme is asking me to do?

Please answer
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xDdraig
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A better example is this:
Reference -
Kwak, Y. T., Yang, Y., Kwak, S.-G. & Koo, M.-S. Delusions of Korean patients with Alzheimer’s disease: Study of drug-naïve patients. Geriatr. Gerontol. Int. 13, 307–313 (2013).

Evaluation-
The authors, Tong Tae Kwak and YoungSoon Yang, are from the department of neurology implying that they are reliable as they have knowledge in this area. This study conducted by the authors is reliable as they haven’t made any speculations or subjective opinions which can degrade their study’s credibility, thus suggesting that this source is reliable. However, they are not famously known which limits their study’s reliability.
Last edited by xDdraig; 7 months ago
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xDdraig
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Hey, macpatgh-Sheldon.
I feel that you know a lot about this topic of area. If possible could you help me out?
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macpatgh-Sheldon
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Hi,

I can try: for your 1st post, where you provide the content of the mark scheme, please also put here the actual Q for which this is the entry in the mark scheme.

I shall then try and show you the link/logic between the Q and the answer.

M.
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xDdraig
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(Original post by macpatgh-Sheldon)
Hi,

I can try: for your 1st post, where you provide the content of the mark scheme, please also put here the actual Q for which this is the entry in the mark scheme.

I shall then try and show you the link/logic between the Q and the answer.

M.
macpatgh-Sheldon

There is no question. It's not a Q and A. It's a dissertation (EPQ - extended project qualification)

Let me rephrase "markscheme" into "guideline" so you can understand it better.

Basically when I said that the mark scheme (or guideline) says:
"The learner makes use of the distinction between fact, speculation and subjective opinion in evaluating the reliability of sources"

I just want to know what the quoted statement means. I don't understand what the guideline is asking me to do.
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macpatgh-Sheldon
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Good morning!

Ah, ok I am with you now young man! Apologies, but I completely overlooked the acronym EPQ in your first post.

Let me explain how I would handle this. Your versions in the two examples of your evaluation that you have given are alright, but they could be better if they stated your analysis based on using the actual facts [and stating some of these actually in your evaluation] [which you can deduce from the phrasing, quality of statistical analysis, large number of subjects, etc.] [AND yes, from the credentials of the authors, which you have done] RATHER THAN making a generic statement e.g. " study conducted by the authors is reliable as they haven’t made any speculations or subjective opinions".

I think my point will become clearer to you if I cite an example. BUT BEFORE I do that, let me fry some eggs and bacon - as you will know, nutrition is important to us guys [girls prefer alcohol and shopping lol].

Watch this space!
M.
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xDdraig
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(Original post by macpatgh-Sheldon)
Good morning!

Ah, ok I am with you now young man! Apologies, but I completely overlooked the acronym EPQ in your first post.

Let me explain how I would handle this. Your versions in the two examples of your evaluation that you have given are alright, but they could be better if they stated your analysis based on using the actual facts [and stating some of these actually in your evaluation] [which you can deduce from the phrasing, quality of statistical analysis, large number of subjects, etc.] [AND yes, from the credentials of the authors, which you have done] RATHER THAN making a generic statement e.g. " study conducted by the authors is reliable as they haven’t made any speculations or subjective opinions".

I think my point will become clearer to you if I cite an example. BUT BEFORE I do that, let me fry some eggs and bacon - as you will know, nutrition is important to us guys [girls prefer alcohol and shopping lol].

Watch this space!
M.
Yes of course, nutrition is very important - I just had some toasted bread and scrambled eggs!

Thanks macpatgh-Sheldon, I definitely understand what you are trying to explain me to do.

Just one last question, what does the statement, 'make use of the distinction between fact, speculation and subjective opinion in evaluating the reliability of sources', actually mean?
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macpatgh-Sheldon
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Hi
again!



First
look at the attached paper by Birks & Harvey - it is a review generated by
scrutinizing a large number of research papers on the treatment of Alzheimer's
dementia performed and written by two statisticians. THIS IS THE TYPE OF TASK
YOU ARE DOING i.e. your dissertation is in the form of simple review (oc
at A level rather than postgraduate level), so your work should be very broadly
in the lines of this paper (BUT OC DO NOT TRY to read this whole paper - you
will collapse lol! . (just read the Abstract
[p12] and glance through some other bits e.g.

{1} - [p14 - Review Methods], which states that ONLY DOUBLE-BLIND randomized trials
were used in the paper (double-blind means that neither the researchers nor the
patients knew whether they were receiving actual drug or placebo tablets (dummy
which is made to appear identical to the bona fide tablet). This means that
there was no psychological bias, so can be interpreted as reliable (check the
research papers you use to see if this "double-blind" technique was
used, then try and use only those papers that did use this, and state this in
your evaluation).

{2} - Check how many patients were used in each study [see p14: Key Results] - if
several hundred or thousands were used, then the results will be more reliable
(obviously because with a small number of patients, any "significant"
results could be due to chance.

{3} - a lot of hype appears every day on telly about so and so causing so and so -
these bits of "info" are mostly inaccurate because newscasters jump
onto a single research paper and make invalid conclusions - so try and deduce
facts that have been corroborated by several papers RATHER THAN those just
"proven" by one paper.

{4} - in support of your statement about "the researchers were
neurologists", yes, it is good to state any strong credentials - there is
a trend in our day and age to just google everything; however, anyone
whatsoever can create a website and put down whatever they believe even if it
is complete nonsense - therefore, you need to be highly selective in where on
the internet you look - state such info in your evaluation critically i.e. say
it if the info appears reliable, but also say it if it does not. With the EPQ,
the examiners look for a balanced argument supporting as well as refuting
various hypotheses.

{5} - Certain scores e.g. MMSE are used to assess various aspects of cognitive or
behavioural function - these depend on responses from the patient, who
might not be very co-operative or able to appreciate the questions - this
subjective element makes the results less reliable.



With
the other paper (Wallin et al, 2011), look at Table 3 on p8 - you can see in
the rightmost column that most of the items tested had p values of
<0.001. This give some indication that these results are, actually v
reliable (you might know that the p value is the probability that the null
hypothesis is untrue purely due to chance, so if the null h states that there
is no difference between e.g. drug and placebo groups, then a v low p value
tells us that the null h is actually very likely to be untrue i.e. that the
effects of drug are indeed different from those of placebo (the aim is to prove
the null hypothesis wrong).
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macpatgh-Sheldon
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Hi the first file was too big for TSR - I will try and copy/paste the relevant parts here.
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macpatgh-Sheldon
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(parts from Birks + Harvey 2016)

Alzheimer’s disease is themost common cause of dementia. As the disease progresses, people lose the ability to remember, communicate,think clearly and perform the activities of daily living. Their behaviour may also change. In severe Alzheimer’s disease people lose theability to care for themselves.The most commonly used treatment for Alzheimer’s disease are medicines known as acetylcholinesterase inhibitors. Donepezil is oneof these medicines. It is taken as a pill once a day.In Alzheimer’s disease, one of the changes in the brain is a reduced number of nerve cells called cholinergic neurones. These arenerve cells that signal to other cells using a chemical called acetylcholine. Acetylcholinesterase inhibitors, such as donepezil, work bypreventing acetylcholine from being broken down. This may improve the symptoms of dementia. However, acetylcholine is also foundelsewhere in the body and so drugs of this type may have unwanted effects.

Review methods
In this review we examined evidence about benefits and harms from studies that compared donepezil, taken for at least 12 weeks, toplacebo (a dummy pill), or that compared different doses of donepezil. The studies had to be double-blind and randomised, that is,the decision whether people taking part got donepezil or placebo had to be made randomly and neither they nor the researchers shouldhave known which treatment they were getting while the trial was going on. This was to make the comparison as unbiased, or fair, aspossible. We searched for studies up to May 2017. We assessed the quality of all the studies we included. When it was sensible to doso, we analysed the results of studies together to get an overall result.

Key results

We included 30 studies with 8257 participants. Most of the people in the studies had mild or moderate dementia due to Alzheimer’sdisease, but in nine studies they had moderate or severe dementia. Almost all of the studies lasted six months or less. The majority ofthe studies were known to have been funded by the manufacturer of donepezil.We found that people with Alzheimer’s disease who took 10 mg of donepezil a day for six months did slightly better than peopletaking placebo, on scales measuring their cognitive function (e.g. thinking and remembering), how well they could manage their dailyactivities, and the overall impression of a trained researcher.We did not find any effect on behaviour or quality of life.People taking donepezil were more likely than those taking placebo to report side effects and to drop out of the studies. Most sideeffects were described as mild. Nausea, vomiting and diarrhoea were most common.Comparing 5 mg of donepezil a day with 10 mg/day, people on 5 mg had fewer side effects, but did slightly less well on cognitivefunction tests. A higher dose (23 mg/day) offered no advantages and was associated with more side effects.There is some evidence that use of donepezil is neither more nor less expensive than placebo when total health care costs are taken intoaccount.Quality of the evidenceIn general, we thought that the quality of the evidence was moderate. The main factor reducing our confidence was concern that theresults of some studies might have been biased by the way they were done. We cannot be sure that the results apply to treatment longerthan six months.

Conclusions

After six months of treatment, there are benefits of donepezil that are large enough to measure in studies. It is associated with sideeffects that are mainly mild, but that may cause people to stop treatment.Being able to stabilise cognitive performance or ability to maintain activities of daily living may be important clinically. In terms oftotal healthcare costs the use of donepezil appears cost neutral. However, there does not appear to be an effect on quality of life. Moredata are still required from longer-term clinical studies examining measures of disease progression or time to needing full time care.
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xDdraig
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(Original post by macpatgh-Sheldon)
(parts from Birks + Harvey 2016)

Alzheimer’s disease is themost common cause of dementia. As the disease progresses, people lose the ability to remember, communicate,think clearly and perform the activities of daily living. Their behaviour may also change. In severe Alzheimer’s disease people lose theability to care for themselves.The most commonly used treatment for Alzheimer’s disease are medicines known as acetylcholinesterase inhibitors. Donepezil is oneof these medicines. It is taken as a pill once a day.In Alzheimer’s disease, one of the changes in the brain is a reduced number of nerve cells called cholinergic neurones. These arenerve cells that signal to other cells using a chemical called acetylcholine. Acetylcholinesterase inhibitors, such as donepezil, work bypreventing acetylcholine from being broken down. This may improve the symptoms of dementia. However, acetylcholine is also foundelsewhere in the body and so drugs of this type may have unwanted effects.

Review methods
In this review we examined evidence about benefits and harms from studies that compared donepezil, taken for at least 12 weeks, toplacebo (a dummy pill), or that compared different doses of donepezil. The studies had to be double-blind and randomised, that is,the decision whether people taking part got donepezil or placebo had to be made randomly and neither they nor the researchers shouldhave known which treatment they were getting while the trial was going on. This was to make the comparison as unbiased, or fair, aspossible. We searched for studies up to May 2017. We assessed the quality of all the studies we included. When it was sensible to doso, we analysed the results of studies together to get an overall result.

Key results

We included 30 studies with 8257 participants. Most of the people in the studies had mild or moderate dementia due to Alzheimer’sdisease, but in nine studies they had moderate or severe dementia. Almost all of the studies lasted six months or less. The majority ofthe studies were known to have been funded by the manufacturer of donepezil.We found that people with Alzheimer’s disease who took 10 mg of donepezil a day for six months did slightly better than peopletaking placebo, on scales measuring their cognitive function (e.g. thinking and remembering), how well they could manage their dailyactivities, and the overall impression of a trained researcher.We did not find any effect on behaviour or quality of life.People taking donepezil were more likely than those taking placebo to report side effects and to drop out of the studies. Most sideeffects were described as mild. Nausea, vomiting and diarrhoea were most common.Comparing 5 mg of donepezil a day with 10 mg/day, people on 5 mg had fewer side effects, but did slightly less well on cognitivefunction tests. A higher dose (23 mg/day) offered no advantages and was associated with more side effects.There is some evidence that use of donepezil is neither more nor less expensive than placebo when total health care costs are taken intoaccount.Quality of the evidenceIn general, we thought that the quality of the evidence was moderate. The main factor reducing our confidence was concern that theresults of some studies might have been biased by the way they were done. We cannot be sure that the results apply to treatment longerthan six months.

Conclusions

After six months of treatment, there are benefits of donepezil that are large enough to measure in studies. It is associated with sideeffects that are mainly mild, but that may cause people to stop treatment.Being able to stabilise cognitive performance or ability to maintain activities of daily living may be important clinically. In terms oftotal healthcare costs the use of donepezil appears cost neutral. However, there does not appear to be an effect on quality of life. Moredata are still required from longer-term clinical studies examining measures of disease progression or time to needing full time care.
macpatgh-Sheldon
(Original post by macpatgh-Sheldon)
Hi the first file was too big for TSR - I will try and copy/paste the relevant parts here.
Oh wow!!!

Thank you so much, I understand it now!!

Just to make sure if I actually did understand it, can you check whether my evaluations are correct:
The Alzheimer Research Forum aim is to speed up research into Alzheimer’s, so this source is reliable as their sole focus is on Alzheimer’s disease. Also, this source contains double-blind trials which means that there was no psychological bias which further makes this source reliable. However, the tests used to assess the severity of cognitive symptoms, such as the MMSE, used could contain subjective opinions which limits this source’s reliability. Also, this source is a summary of the actual research which may mean that the facts could be misrepresented.

and

The Alzheimer's Drug Discovery Foundation is the only charity that is focused on the development of drugs which suggest that they have quite a bit of knowledge on treatments of Alzheimer’s. This makes this source reliable. Even though, this source is a summary of many clinical trials, which means that the facts/figures may be abridged, there aren’t any ideas that have been speculated. This makes this source reasonably reliable.
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macpatgh-Sheldon
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(Original post by xDdraig)
macpatgh-Sheldon

Oh wow!!!

Thank you so much, I understand it now!!

Just to make sure if I actually did understand it, can you check whether my evaluations are correct:
The Alzheimer Research Forum aim is to speed up research into Alzheimer’s, so this source is reliable as their sole focus is on Alzheimer’s disease. Also, this source contains double-blind trials which means that there was no psychological bias which further makes this source reliable. However, the tests used to assess the severity of cognitive symptoms, such as the MMSE, used could contain subjective opinions which limits this source’s reliability. Also, this source is a summary of the actual research which may mean that the facts could be misrepresented.

and

The Alzheimer's Drug Discovery Foundation is the only charity that is focused on the development of drugs which suggest that they have quite a bit of knowledge on treatments of Alzheimer’s. This makes this source reliable. Even though, this source is a summary of many clinical trials, which means that the facts/figures may be abridged, there aren’t any ideas that have been speculated. This makes this source reasonably reliable.
Seems OK - just two minor comments -
1. I would suggest using cg more formal English in one or two places e.g. "quite a bit" of knowledge sounds like a chat (and check your punctuation).
2. Try to emphasize positive points: Instead of " there aren’t any ideas that have been speculated", concentrate on the ideas that are factual/objective.

BTW don't be dejected by my pickiness :confused: - I just believe in perfection; your work now sounds good!

M
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xDdraig
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(Original post by macpatgh-Sheldon)
Seems OK - just two minor comments -
1. I would suggest using cg more formal English in one or two places e.g. "quite a bit" of knowledge sounds like a chat (and check your punctuation).
2. Try to emphasize positive points: Instead of " there aren’t any ideas that have been speculated", concentrate on the ideas that are factual/objective.

BTW don't be dejected by my pickiness :confused: - I just believe in perfection; your work now sounds good!

M
Thank you for the feedback!

Don't worry I'm absolutely not dejected by your pickiness
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