Introduction to Research. Objectives. Become an educated consumer of research by being able to: Differentiate among the different types of information available Perform a short term, focused literature search
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Objectives • Become an educated consumer of research by being able to: • Differentiate among the different types of information available • Perform a short term, focused literature search • Maintain an ongoing search of the literature for material related to a topic of interest
Types of Periodicals • Scholarly • Substantive News/General Interest • Popular • Sensational
Scholarly • Concerned with research and academic study (main purpose is to disseminate research) • Have a serious appearance with graphs and charts, and little advertising • Footnotes and/or reference lists for every article • Articles written by a reputable scholar or researcher • Not easily read by layman because of use of the language of the discipline • Usually, but not always, published by a professional organization (e.g. JAMA, Physical Therapy)
Substantive News/General Interest • Generally, attractive (glossy, photos), although some in newspaper format • May cite sources, but not usually • Main purpose: provide general information to a broad audience of generally intelligent people; no specialty assumed • Articles by staff or freelance writers • Examples: National Geographic, Scientific American
Popular • Main purpose: to entertain • Slick and attractive with lots of photos • Rarely, if ever, cite sources. • Information often second or third hand and rarely any depth to articles • Simple language used for minimally educated public • Examples: Time, Vogue, Readers Digest
Sensational • Main purpose: arouse curiosity and make you buy it • Flashy headlines • Assume gullibility in the audience • Cater to the superstitious • Examples: (You fill in the blank!)
Types of Information Available • Theory • Facts • Opinions • Methods
Theory • “A body of interrelated principles that present a systematic view of a phenomena.” • Acceptable and useful, but not absolute; a “tentative” explanation, consistent with available information. • Can be tested and proved wrong (one can never “prove” a theory right). • Provides a basis for research.
Example • Theory: CNS does not regenerate and what return occurs is due to healing of basically intact but temporarily injured structures, and will happen within first five years after injury. • Acceptable and useful for many years in dealing with persons with SCI. • Now being questioned by Christopher Reeves who is getting return of sensation and motion after seven years. • This case provides a basis for doing more research on more persons with SCI to test the theory.
Facts • Factual information about a topic • Examples: • Protocols • Results from other clinicians • Results of previous investigations/research
Opinions • What someone thinks about something. • Examples: • Opinions of clinicians about the effectiveness of a treatment protocol • Opinions of researchers about important areas still in need of study • Editorial opinions • Invited commentaries on an article
Methods • Articles providing information about the method describe the technique used to collect information. • Examples: • Techniques used by clinicians to measure the success (or not) of a treatment protocol • Techniques used to measure and analyze data in research studies
Practice • Review the sample articles provided by the instructor and determine if they provide primarily theory, fact, opinion or methods. Defend your choice. • If an article contains many types of information, identify which types and where in the paper these are found.
Types of Professional Literature • Primary sources • Secondary sources
Primary Sources • An original research report • Allows the reader to make a judgment about the validity and reliability (credibility) of the research • Examples: • Journal articles describing original research • Theses • Dissertations • Conference abstracts and proceedings
Secondary Sources • Summarize own work or work of others • Organize the literature for the reader • Provide primary references • Examples: • Book chapters • Literature review journal articles
Practice • Review the sample articles provided by the instructor and determine if they are primarily primary of secondary sources. Defend your choice. • (a) Where, in a primary source, will you find secondary sources cited? (b) What is the difference between this and a secondary source?
Focused Literature Search • Conducted for a specific purpose or to answer a specific question • Examples: • To plan care for individual patients • To evaluate existing programs • To develop research proposals
Search Tools • Your own books and journals • Library holdings • Single-journal indexes • Multiple-journal databases • Dissertation and thesis databases • Conference papers and proceedings databases • Human resources
Using a Single Article to Further Your Search • Backwards: look at references to see related articles on same topic; yields older articles • Forward: Science Citation Index will yield articles written after that have cited this paper as a reference • Sideways: (via electronic citations) • Related-record searching • Using keyword or subject headings
Ongoing Literature Search • Single-journal contents scanning • Multiple-journal contents scanning • Multiple-journal reviews • Focused database scanning
Single-Journal Contents Scanning • Table of contents • Book reviews • Journal article reviews/abstracts
Multiple-Journal Contents Scanning • Electronically access table of contents of several journals • JAMA • Current Contents • Current Contents: Clinical Medicine • Current Contents: Life Sciences
Multiple-Journal Reviews • References that: • Inform the practitioner of new articles • Assess the potential value of an article • Physical Therapy in Perspective • Hard copy available by subscription • ACP (American College of Physicians) Journal Club • Focuses on “evidence-based” literature • Example: APTA Book & Literature Review
Focused Database Scanning • Regular scanning of relevant databases: • Your own books and journals • Library holdings • Single-journal indexes • Multiple-journal databases • Dissertation and thesis databases • Conference papers and proceedings databases
Obtaining Literature Items • Library holdings • Interlibrary loan • Full text retrieval via the Internet • Document delivery systems • Reprints from authors • Purchase of back issues of a journal from the publisher • Network of professional colleagues