Finding resources: Using journals for your research

Unfortunately, it takes so long to write, edit and publish a textbook, that new information probably won't make it into texts until at least 3-5 years after its original publication.

So where do I turn for the most current information?

Check out journal articles.

Journal articles are the primary unit of medical information. As new data becomes available, it is published in journal articles:

  • If a new randomized controlled trial changes the standard of care, it is published in a journal article.
  • If an author writes a rigorous review on a specific topic, it is published in a journal article.
  • If a group issues a guideline for how to treat a specific condition, it is usually published in a journal article.
  • If a policy group reviews the underlying economic factors driving a particular health reform, it is published in a journal article.

Journal articles contain current information and research. They provide detailed reports of the methodology and results of laboratory research, case series reports, clinical trials, program evaluation, and other kinds of research studies. Journal articles focus on finding solutions to specific health care problems.

Professional research is usually published in the form of peer-reviewed journal articles. Peer review means that experts in a relevant field review manuscripts for quality and accuracy.

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