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Introduction, aims

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This exercise focuses on "argument signals" in the introduction of an article by Wiles, J. D., Coleman, D., Tegerdine, M. and Swaine, I. L. (2006) The effects of caffeine ingestion on performance time, speed and power during a laboratory-based 1 km cycling time-trial, Journal of Sports Sciences, 24:11,1165 — 1171. Some words or phrases contribute more to the argument than others. In a critical reading of a research article, you will be loooking for these "argument signals".

Select the words or phrases which signal the argument and discuss the gap in past research.  When you have finished click SUBMIT to check your answers.

Answers you selected correctly are shown in green, those selected incorrectly are shown in red, and those you should have selected are shown in orange.

Stage and purpose of stage Stage of the introduction Argument signals


- asserting importance of the topic

- stating current knowledge (generally)

According to the research literature, the effects of caffeine ingestion on the full continuum of exercise performance (relating to an improvement in speed and hence a reduction in time taken to complete an athletic event) remain unclear (Graham, Hibbert, & Sathasivam, 1998; Nehlig, Daval, & Derby, 1992). Whereas the effects on "aerobic" performance are reasonably well established (Costill, Dalsky, & Fink, 1978; Falk et al., 1989; Ivy, Costill, Fink, & Lower, 1988; Trice & Haymes, 1995, Van Soeren & Graham, 1998), the research evidence for the effects on "anaerobic" performance are somewhat more equivocal. Although part of the problem can be attributed to the lack of consistency in caffeine dosage, exercise procedures and training status of participants, there also appears to be a lack of published research on some aspects of the effects of caffeine. Early studies of the effects of caffeine on all-out exercise of short duration (cycling for about 15 s) showed no improvement in power, work or fatigue indices (Williams, Signorile, Barnes, & Henrich, 1988). Subsequently, it was shown that cycling time to exhaustion at 100% maximum was not increased after ingestion of caffeine (Collomp, Caillaud, Audran, Chanal, & Prefaut, 1990). More recently, Greer, McLean and Graham (1998) also showed that caffeine ingestion did not affect cycling performance during four 30 s bouts of cycling with 4 min rest between bouts. These findings were further substantiated by the work of Bell, Jacobs and Ellerington (2001), who found no improvement in 30 s Wingate performance after caffeine ingestion ( -1).

In this section there are spots which signal that the authors are building up an argument about past and recent research.

Click on 10 of the highlighted words or phrases which best indicate the development of their argument i.e. how they are being critical of past and recent research.


- from the perspective of this research

However, others have shown that caffeine improves performance in short-duration high-intensity exercise. Collomp, Ahmaidi, Chatard, Audran and Prefaut (1992) showed improved 100m swimming performance, of about 60 s duration, in 60 s60 s durationtrained but not in untrained swimmers. Anselme, Collomp, Mercier, Ahmaidi and Prefaut (1992) showed improved maximal anaerobic power derived from a force - velocity cycling test. Interestingly, Bell et al. (2001), using healthy male participants, did find that caffeine significantly improved time to exhaustion in a maximum accumulated oxygen deficit (MAOD) test (performed at 125% VO2peak)affeine ingestion, Collomp, that lasted about 2min. Similar findings for MAOD time to exhaustion were reported by Doherty (1998) and Doherty, Smith, Davison and Hughes (2002), who found that an acute dose of caffeine ( -1) improved time to volitional exhaustion by more than 10% in trained males during a treadmill running MAOD test (in both cases performed at an intensity equivalent to 125% VO2max). Wiles, Bird, Hopkins and Riley (1992) also showed that 1500m treadmill running performance, lasting about 5min, was improved by the ingestion of caffeinated coffee in trained runners. More recently, caffeine has been shown to improve 2000m rowing performance, which lasted about 7min on average, in competitive oarsmen (Bruce et al., 2000) and oarswomen (Anderson et al., 2000). Therefore, it appears that the effects of caffeine are restricted to all-out exercise lasting more than 15-30 s.

In this section there are 6 spots which signal that the authors are continuing their argument about past and recent research.

Click on those 6 words or phrases which best indicate the development of their argument i.e. how they are being critical of past and recent research and the conclusion they draw.


- indicating a gap

- raising a question

While there is some evidence of improved performance after caffeine ingestion in runners and rowers when performing exercise of about 2 – 7 min duration, only Collomp et al. (1992) have shown improved performance during exercise of ~60 s duration. As far as we are aware, there are no published reports of the effects of caffeine on performance, speed and power during cycling of 60 s duration in trained cyclists, especially when using cycling-specific ergometry such as with the ‘‘power crank’’ ergometer (Schoberer Rad Meßtechnik, Jülich, Germany).

In this section there is one spot which signals that the authors are preparing for their research by indicating a gap in past research.

Click on the phrase which best signals the gap.


 - stating purpose and aims

The aim of this study was to assess the effects of caffeine ingestion on cycling performance time, speed and power during a time-trial of about 60 s duration (1 km) in a laboratory setting.