Is your topic researchable?
Think about your topic
Let's talk about indexing!
Indexing facilitates more precise search statements, especially for topics that are vague or ambiguous.
What is evidence?
All research is (potentially) "evidence" and there are no "perfect" studies.
Critically evaluating what you read will help any unearth biases or methodological shortcomings that may be present.
Is there an agenda (bias)?
It's doubtful that any study of humans is without some kind of bias, either in the study design, or in the author's pre-existing beliefs. How bias in methodology was controlled and the significance of bias in any particular study is what's relevant.
Things to consider:
Who pays for science? Does it matter? (There is evidence that it does matter)
Research may be funded by:
This article (PDF) discusses the "manufactured uncertainty" created by industry groups that sponsor research and publishing on chemicals.
» Take a look at a few citations (.doc) on these topics
Things to keep in mind:
The Literature Review Matrix (below) may help you organize what you find in your literature search. This matrix is a simplified version from Health Sciences Literature Review Made Easy (various editions of this book are available at several UCB libraries).
Nearly all the databases you use to find articles, etc., retain your search history. Literature reviews, like epidemiological research, should be rigorous and reproducible. Save or print your search history to help document your search strategy, which will include:
Using PubMed's Clipboard and My NCBI can help with both saving your search strategy and the citations you find.
More information may be found on the PubMed Save Citations tab of this guide.
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