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The Research Process

Research for class may sound intimidating, but it's actually pretty simple when you break it down.  Fortunately, there is a straightforward process you can follow.  

The health care research process should always follow the same steps.

  1. Background research
  2. PICO
  3. Search for evidence
  4. Evaluate evidence

 

What is Health Research?

In the medical and allied health fields, researchers conduct scientifically-designed experiments to answer specific research questions.  Each study builds on previous research to add a new piece of evidence to the larger puzzle.  The goal of health research is to improve understanding of a particular field or subject area in order to improve technology, care, and decision-making.  

 

Evidence-based Practice

As a practitioner, it's important to develop an evidence-based practice (EBP).  EBP focuses on combining current research evidence with a practitioner's own experience and judgement and the patient's preferences .  It's a three-part approach called the three-legged stool of EBP

Image of the three-legged stool of evidence-based practice.

Clinical research can usually be found on special websites that search peer-reviewed journal databases.  Our library has subscriptions to some of these journal sites.

 

Read more about EBP in a peer-reviewed article from Credo Reference.

 

 

 

What Does Peer-Reviewed Mean?

Peer-reviewed sources are have been reviewed for quality by experts before they are published, which is different than many websites.

Infographic showing peer-reviewed sources vs. non-peer-reviewed sources

 

All of the links to library collections are peer-reviewed.  This means that you can generally trust information from the library's collections more than the information on the Web.  

 

Peer-Reviewed

NOT Peer-Reviewed

Created by health care professionals, health researchers, or other expert You don't know who wrote the information
Reviewed for quality by experts according to professional process

You don't if anyone checked the author's facts

Lists the sources and/or research used to create these materials

You don't know where the author got her or his information

Guaranteed to meet the highest quality standards in the field

You can't rely on the quality of information

ACC's Peer-reviewed Collections

NOT Peer-Reviewed Websites

Credo Reference Wikipedia
Nursing Reference Center WebMD
Rehabilitation Reference Center Drugs.com
SMART Imagebase Google Images, YouTube
CINAHL Complete Blogs, discussion forums, social media posts
ProQuest Databases 
 
Ask.com, ehow