How to Interpret and Critique Neuroimaging Research: A Tutorial on Use of Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging in Clinical Populations Purpose Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), an influential experimental approach, provides valuable information about clinical disorders that can be used to select and/or refine speech and language interventions. Functional MRI (fMRI) in particular is becoming a widespread methodological tool for investigating speech and language. However, because MRI is relatively new and ... Tutorial
Tutorial  |   August 01, 2016
How to Interpret and Critique Neuroimaging Research: A Tutorial on Use of Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging in Clinical Populations
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Brea Chouinard
    Faculty of Rehabilitation Medicine, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada
  • Carol Boliek
    University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada
    Neuroscience and Mental Health Institute, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada
  • Jacqueline Cummine
    University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada
    Neuroscience and Mental Health Institute, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada
  • Disclosure: The authors have declared that no competing interests existed at the time of publication.
    Disclosure: The authors have declared that no competing interests existed at the time of publication. ×
  • Correspondence to Brea Chouinard: breac@ualberta.ca
  • Editor: Krista Wilkinson
    Editor: Krista Wilkinson×
  • Associate Editor: Aimee Dietz
    Associate Editor: Aimee Dietz×
Article Information
Research Issues, Methods & Evidence-Based Practice / Tutorial
Tutorial   |   August 01, 2016
How to Interpret and Critique Neuroimaging Research: A Tutorial on Use of Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging in Clinical Populations
American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology, August 2016, Vol. 25, 269-289. doi:10.1044/2016_AJSLP-15-0013
History: Received February 11, 2015 , Revised July 18, 2015 , Accepted December 30, 2015
 
American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology, August 2016, Vol. 25, 269-289. doi:10.1044/2016_AJSLP-15-0013
History: Received February 11, 2015; Revised July 18, 2015; Accepted December 30, 2015

Purpose Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), an influential experimental approach, provides valuable information about clinical disorders that can be used to select and/or refine speech and language interventions. Functional MRI (fMRI) in particular is becoming a widespread methodological tool for investigating speech and language. However, because MRI is relatively new and complex, potential consumers need to be able to critically assess the methods used in order to appraise results and conclusions. The authors offer a tutorial that (a) relays foundational knowledge related to the collection and analysis of MRI data in general and fMRI data specifically and (b) presents strategies for evaluating studies that utilize fMRI methods.

Method This tutorial outlines methodological considerations that should be addressed by fMRI researchers and noted by consumers of the research, including clinicians and behavioral researchers who work with neurogenic communication disorders.

Results Readers will be able to evaluate a neuroimaging publication and identify the methodological strengths and weaknesses that potentially influence the integrity of reported findings and interpretations.

Conclusion This tutorial provides information and strategies that can be used to critically evaluate studies that collect, analyze, and interpret fMRI data. The tutorial concludes with a summary checklist to guide critical appraisal.

Acknowledgments
The current work was supported by funding to the first author from the Izaak Walton Killam Memorial Scholarship (2013–2015), the Alberta Innovates Health Solutions Clinician Fellowship (2013–2016), and the Canadian Institutes for Health Research Autism Research Training Program (2013–2016). We thank Sharon Warren, who provided feedback on previous versions of this tutorial.
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