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Introduction to Research for Health Sciences Undergraduates

A research guide for undergraduate health sciences students

Scientific Research Cycle

Generate an idea and hypothesis. Is it unique? If not, credit the appropriate researcher.

Conduct a thorough search of available literature. Identifying and exploring related research will allow you to build on existing work and communicate any new findings.

Days after results are published--results might be shared informally, with colleagues. This informal group of stakeholders is termed the "invisible college". Results might also be shared in a letter to the editor of a journal, or in a news brief in science magazines

Findings might be picked up by broadcast or internet news

Weeks after results are published--findings may be summarized and printed in newspaper or magazine articles

Months after results are published--findings may be printed in journal articles

Years after results are published--findings may be printed in books


Popular Sources vs. Scholarly Sources

Popular Sources   Scholarly Sources
General Public Who reads? Professionals, scholars, and researchers
Almost anyone, including reporters and journalists Who writes? Professionals, scholars, and researchers
News articles, entertainment articles, or general interest articles written in plain language. Maybe slanted to elicit an emotional response. What's included? Bibliographies, original research, or in-depth research written in technical language. Should be objective.
Useful for understanding the popular perspective, for a broad overview of a topic, and for a general understanding of what is being written about a topic. Usefulness? Useful for understanding current research findings, checking the accuracy of data, and reviewing important research on a specific topic.
Typically used as a secondary source, but can be a primary source when writing about popular culture. Primary or Secondary Source? Typically used as a primary source for lab and field research, but can be a secondary source when summarizing or writing a review.
Editors and publishers decide what is printed in each issue. Who reviews? A panel of experts from the author's field of study decides what is published in each issue.
National Geographic, Popular Science, Newsweek, Vogue, People Examples Cell, Nature, Science, Journal of the American Medical Society

Popular sources are not scholarly nor are they primary! They are rarely used for scientific research.