Health & Medical Medicine

How to Process Disorder Research

    • 1). Locate disorder research. Published research can be found on the National Library of Medicine's PubMed website. It can be searched by disorder name, research institute or researchers' name. The results include a list of research from around the world that has been published and a summary (called an abstract) of the research, how it was performed and the conclusions. Research that is ongoing is called a clinical trial. These studies can be found at the website, along with information about whether the study is currently recruiting or completed and where the research is being done.

    • 2). Read the abstract. First determine if the study is relevant to your topic of interest. Even if you search for a specific disorder, some of the studies in the list will not be important for you. If the research fits, look at the conclusions or results at the end of the abstract. Are these results suitable for your needs?

    • 3). Evaluate authors. The abstract will include the names of all the researchers along with the institution where the research was completed. Be sure they're well qualified and do not have a conflict of interest, which should be stated in the published study. Sometimes, those providing the funding or someone conducting the research hope to produce results that will help sell a product. This doesn't always mean the results are invalid, but it should be a red flag indicating that the study may have bias.

    • 4). Determine significance of study. The size of the study, meaning the number of subjects or participants, is one of the most important factors. The larger the size of the study, the more significant the results will be because a larger group more accurately represents the total population. A study that only had one subject might produce interesting results, but with only one person, the conclusion can't be generalized to apply to other people.

    • 5). Review study design. Different research designs exist but one type that has the greatest chance of being statistically significant is a randomized double-blind study. This means that there are two groups, a control group that receives a placebo and a second group receiving the treatment.The participants are randomly assigned to a group, and no one knows who is receiving a placebo or who is taking actual treatment. This reduces the risk of bias and errors in the study due to selection of subjects, research design or measurement.

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