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  1. #1
    MuscleScience's Avatar
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    How To.........

    Find, Read and Talk about a scientific studies.


    You see many people posting up studies to prove or disprove a particular point. This is good, when done correctly. Just like any other type of information, scientific studies can be spun, or misinterpreted.

    How do I begin my Literature search?


    Its relatively easy now a days. You simple go on the internet and google whatever information you want.

    How do scientist get their information?

    They go to the internet and do the same. Actually online databases to be more specific. Everyone has probably heard about PubMed.

    Each particular area of science will have a database specific to the related fields that the database was created for. PubMed is a biomedical database, and is used by many to retrieve information.

    Now that I have found a database to search what do I look for?


    Type in keywords that you think will help your search into the search function.

    Ok I found a bunch of papers do I have to read everyone to find the information I am looking for


    No of course not, all you have to do is read over the abstract quickly. Some journals will have a keyword list at the bottom of the abstract to help the browser pick through the thousands of papers that may come up.

    No scientist that has papers to write or grant proposal deadlines is going to read through all those papers.

    A typical scientific paper should have over a 100 references in its bibliography. Now this varies from particular fields because to be frank some areas of research don't have that much research history to fill that requirement.

    The scientist may end up using 100 or more papers. He in-fact may actually read 300 to 400 abstracts before settling on the ones he is going to use.

    Ok thats all good and all but I am not a scientist how can I find what I want


    Now that we have found the database, typed in keywords and a million papers have came up it is now time to restrict your search parameters.

    That means if you find a subject that has tons and tons of papers you restrict the search to help you find the most relevant papers to use.

    What I typically do is set a date restriction. If the literature supports it, I will restrict my search to papers that are five years old or newer. The reason I do this is because I know that these papers are the most cutting edge papers to date on a subject. Now that doesnt mean older papers are not relevant by any means. It just means that the newer papers have a pedigree that was built on by earlier papers.

    Knowledge is a accumulation of information over time.

    I found the paper I want to read now what


    You read the paper.

    Ok you read the paper and dissect the information. Read the paper with some skepticism. That means do not take what is written as set in stone.

    Remember that it is just one paper out of many. It may say one thing, then later in your literary search you may find a hundred papers that say something else.

    What does that mean then

    This means that if you find a paper that proves your point, you next have to search further in the literature to see what the body of evidence says on the subject.

    Body of Evidence?

    Body of Evidence simple means what does the vast majority of papers say about the subject. Is there a general consensus on the main point your interested in.

    The thing about searching for something is if your looking for unicorns you can find unicorns.

    What does that mean you freaking nut?

    It means that if I want to find a paper on how to turn lead into gold I can more than likely find a paper that tells me that I can.

    Now does that mean the lead can be turned to gold, NO. What it means is be skeptical of your information. Because I can say with almost certainty that I will find a million more papers that say I can't for that one paper that says I can.

    If your trying to prove a point to someone about how something does or does not happen. It behooves you to search further because not all science is created equal.

    I am confused now, I thought all scientific papers were created equal


    Nothing can be further from the truth, just like every other profession science has its good and bad professionals.

    When a scientist goes to submit his paper to a journal for publication he looks up the Relevance Rating (R-Value) of that journal. In other words how good is that journal he is trying to get his paper in. There are good journals and there are bad journals. The better the journal the better the data of the papers, and the conclusions of the authors have to be.

    If a scientist gets his paper repeatedly turned down by his target journal he will then likely try for a lesser journal that he has a better chance of getting his paper in. If the scientist is still having trouble getting his paper in, he will just go down the list of relevant journals until finally he gets his paper in. Now this paper may be the Online Journal of Witch Craft, which may have a very very low R-value. Does this mean this paper is as good as a paper that is in the New England Journal of Medicine, No it means the data and conclusions do not meet the minimum standards the journal has set for itself and the papers it accepts.

    Take that for what it worth.

    This was a long and boring read can you give me the condensed version

    Basically its like this, if your trying to prove a point and you want to have the most reliable source of information to help you prove that point, you go to the primary literature.

    First find the paper you like, the newer the better.

    Next after you find a paper you think supports your point. Read it, dissect it, make sure it is a good and reputable paper.

    Then you read some more papers to make sure your not reading dated or unsupported information. Which can come back to haunt you in your debate.

    Lastly determine what the body of the research says about the subject. It is ok to use information that is relatively unsupported if its new. Just make sure that you word your argument carefully.

    Hope this helps and all feedback is welcomed....
    Last edited by MuscleScience; 04-01-2009 at 10:29 PM.

  2. #2
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    BTW comments are greatly appreciate.

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    number twelve is offline All Natty...Kinda~Winning Member Transformation Contest!
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    haha thanks for the guide bro

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    Bump

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    DSM4Life is offline Snook~ AR Lounge Monitor
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    The best one :

    I found the paper I want to read now what

    You read the paper.

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    Quote Originally Posted by DSM4Life View Post
    The best one :

    I found the paper I want to read now what

    You read the paper.
    Pure brilliance....LOL

  7. #7
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    naturalsux is offline Anabolic Member
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    thanks MuscleScience, i appreciate all the info you bring to the site. ill let you

    handle the studies, you do a good job explaining. i sometimes have a hard time

    deciphering what the study is trying to say.

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