Indexing & abstracting
|Special project: index for NCAW
Investigates group gender composition and communication styles in small task groups involved in computer-mediated communication. Describes a study that tried to train small task groups in the use of one communication style and suggests further research in the area of communication training for online task groups. (1)The objectives and scope of the document are clearly laid out in this short paragraph and answer the questions of who, what, where, how, and why. Key words are: investigates (an active verb) group gender composition (who) and communication styles (what) in small task groups involved in computer-mediated communication (what/where/purpose). Describes a study (an active verb phrase which points to the methodology) that tried to train small task groups in the use of one communication style (what/how/) and suggests further research (why/conclusion) in the area of communication training for online task groups. In this case, the active verb investigates and the phrase describes a study let the reader know that this abstract is based on a research paper which reports on computer-mediated communication styles and the effects of gender and training within small groups. However, the methodology of the research is not specifically mentioned, only that is a study and the results and conclusions are not provided, except for the ubiquitous phrase suggests further research.
Previous studies by the current authors have indicated that group gender composition can be linked to particular communication styles in small task groups involved in computer-mediated communication. Female only groups were more likely to engage in a pattern that emphasized self-disclosure, statements of personal opinion, “I” statements and coalition language. This “High Communication Style” (HCS) was linked to high group satisfaction, and high group development. The present study attempts to train small task groups in the use of HCS. Experimental groups (Female Only, Male Only, and Mixed) were actively trained in computer-mediated communication and the use of the HCS style. The Control Groups of similar composition were actively trained in the use of e-mail etiquette guidelines that focused on using or avoiding specific formats in their messages. Results indicated that the Experimental Groups had significantly higher levels of self-disclosure and of opinion. Male Only groups showed significantly lower participation than did either Mixed or Female Only groups. Female Only groups scored higher in Group Development than either Mixed or Male Only groups. Contrary to previous studies, however, there were no significant relationships between group development or satisfaction and language content variables. The authors call for further research in the area of communication training for on-line task groups.The second abstract is much more informative, as it includes the objective and scope of the work, methods used, results, and conclusions of the study. It obviously goes into much greater detail, and uses key words such as High Communication Style, Experimental groups, Control groups, Female only, Male only.
Computer-mediated communication (CMC) is a pervasive means of communicating in work place, education, and home settings. Males currently occupy approximately 69% of all jobs in the computer industry and only 10% of upper-level positions are occupied by females. Stereotypical perceptions and gendered occupations contribute to the lack of females in computer-related fields. Because CMC is a faceless medium, many hoped that it would neutralize impressions of gender identity and provide women with an equal playing field. On-line discussion groups offer participants the opportunity to disguise their gender by using pseudonyms, however, because of gendered language and non-verbal styles, an individual’s gender is often challenged if the language used contradicts the assumed norm. “Flaming” and adversarial language often discourage female participation as well. Gender differences do exist in CMC, and males tend to assume the same roles they do when communicating face-to-face. Researchers believe male monopolization of CMC has, indeed, limited female involvement.The objectives and scope of the document are delineated and answer the questions of what, why, where, how, and who. Key words or phrases are: pervasive means of communicating (what); “Males currently occupy approximately 69% of all jobs in the computer industry and only 10% of upper-level positions are occupied by females. Stereotypical perceptions and gendered occupations contribute to the lack of females in computer-related fields” (what/why/purpose). On-line discussion groups (where), participants (who), and gender differences (what) are the topic of the document. The methodology of the research is not specifically mentioned, but conclusions are provided by stating that Researchers believe male monopolization of CMC has, indeed, limited female involvement.
Authors' conclusions Only few comparative clinical trials of homoeopathy exist. None is free from serious methodological flaws. Thus the value of individualised homoeopathy relative to allopathic treatments is unknown.The criticism is implied, rather than overtly stated, throughout the abstract/record. The reviewer takes a decidedly critical stance when discussing the authors’ conclusions, and in the final comments. The expert reviewer is a medical professor who clearly believes that the study is flawed. He states that not only are there few comparative clinical trials on this topic, but those few have flaws in their methodology. Furthermore, he argues that the failure of the author(s) to indicate whether or not unpublished reports were considered, the manner in which articles were selected and by whom, and the subjective nature of the report all indicate an immaturity on the part of the author(s). To be completely fair, I was unable to read the document to which the abstract referred. However, were I researching the topic of homeopathy, I think that this critical abstract would provide me with enough information to know that this reading this work would be a waste of time: the problems mentioned here impugn its validity.
CRD commentary The author has listed inclusion and exclusion criteria, and has searched several databases for relevant material. It is not clear however whether additional studies may have been missed because unpublished reports were not included. The author has not reported on how the articles were selected, or how the quality of the chosen studies was assessed. There is also no report as to who, or how many, selected the articles and extracted the data. The data from each study is described in a very subjective narrative review which gives very little detail about each study. There is no discussion about the heterogeneity between the studies which include a wide range of participants and treatments. As the author admits, the results from these studies should be viewed with great caution.