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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 l.jpg
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


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Types of Periodicals

  • Scholarly

  • Substantive News/General Interest

  • Popular

  • Sensational


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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)


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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


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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


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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!)


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Types of Information Available

  • Theory

  • Facts

  • Opinions

  • Methods


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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.


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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.


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Facts

  • Factual information about a topic

  • Examples:

    • Protocols

    • Results from other clinicians

    • Results of previous investigations/research


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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


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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


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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.


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Types of Professional Literature

  • Primary sources

  • Secondary sources


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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


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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


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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?


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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


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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


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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


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Ongoing Literature Search

  • Single-journal contents scanning

  • Multiple-journal contents scanning

  • Multiple-journal reviews

  • Focused database scanning


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Single-Journal Contents Scanning

  • Table of contents

  • Book reviews

  • Journal article reviews/abstracts


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Multiple-Journal Contents Scanning

  • Electronically access table of contents of several journals

    • JAMA

  • Current Contents

    • Current Contents: Clinical Medicine

    • Current Contents: Life Sciences


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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


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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


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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