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Research articles

MagicSkittles

Full Member
2+ Year Member
Jul 7, 2014
32
2
  1. Pre-Medical
    Hi,

    I've been trying to learn more about research & science, so hopefully this is the right place to post this question. Are there any good forums anyone could recommend on how to find out what other people (graduate students, post docs, professors even) think about a particular research article? Or are there any good websites, up-to-date textbooks that discuss how research articles are analyzed?

    Thanks in advance!
     

    StIGMA

    Doctor Professor
    10+ Year Member
    Jul 7, 2008
    1,288
    748
    1. Resident [Any Field]
      Hi,

      I've been trying to learn more about research & science, so hopefully this is the right place to post this question. Are there any good forums anyone could recommend on how to find out what other people (graduate students, post docs, professors even) think about a particular research article? Or are there any good websites, up-to-date textbooks that discuss how research articles are analyzed?

      Thanks in advance!

      To thoroughly understand research articles in enough detail to analyze/critique them takes years. It won't happen unless you are conducting research yourself. For starters, go to journal clubs at any science department at a university. You don't need to be a student. Additionally, go to department seminars, where a speaker will present their research in a way that they think is relatable. Try to understand why the audience asks particular questions.

      Another good way to get an understanding of a particular field is to read review articles followed by in-depth reading of a fair number of the primary articles that they discuss. Start by combing through every sentence of a primary research article, looking up every single detail that you don't understand. Attempt to draw the same conclusions from the data as the authors. It may take you a whole day or longer to go through one lengthy article in this manner.

      Also check out pubmed commons, where scientists can comment on articles http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedcommons/
       

      okemba

      street sweeper
      5+ Year Member
      Nov 2, 2012
      58
      11
      1. Pre-Medical
        Above answer is pretty good. There was a professor at my school who gives an annual talk to some undergraduate bme research club about how to read/analyze a scientific paper. I'll see if I can find the powerpoint and PM it to you.

        I think the advice boiled down to:

        1. Look at the figures.
        2. Google words and read the referencing text until the figures make sense.

        Most of the real value that a biomedical scientific paper adds can be found in the figures. If you have a good grasp of the field, then you can fill in the majority of the background and results interpretation just by looking at the figures. majority=/=100%, of course, but still a lot.

        as far as how to get to the point of being able to dissect papers like this, I recommend:
        i) get involved in research in some way, if you can.
        ii) pick a scientific paper, and don't just try to understand it - create your own powerpoint where you pretend to be giving an in-depth explanation of the paper to a scientific audience. prepare yourself for every question, explore every detail, anticipate difficult questions. The handful of times that I have done this, it has truly deepened my ability to understand science. kind of baffling that I'm too lazy to do it for myself more often. lol.

        http://www.cell.com/molecular-cell/abstract/S1097-2765(10)00205-4

        ^That paper was what I did my first journal club on. It was so interesting. They kept doing all of these different experiments to test their hypotheses from different angles. I was used to math where if you prove something its just true, and after poring through this paper for 8+ hours, I feel like this extra layer of intellectual subtlety was added to my head. I at first couldn't understand why if we had already shown this result is true this way, we have to re-show it in some other context this other way, but after going through it several times it made sense.

        If you need access to any pdfs, shoot me a pm.
         
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