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EXSC 222: Human Anatomy

How to start your research

You'll need to research the condition that you've selected, and you'll likely want to start off with a quick Google search to start learning the basics of your condition, then transition to searching for more scholarly sources, such as journal articles or encyclopedia entries.

1) When it comes to journal articles, there are two different types that you will come across and that can be useful for you: primary articles, and review articles. Let's take a look at two different articles  

Look at the abstracts for these two journal articles. What are the goals of each article? What can you learn from each? Which is a primary article, and which is a review article? 

2) Let's also take a look at a non-scholarly source, such as: 

If you were using this source to learn about supraventricular tachycardia, what could you learn from it? What makes this a "non-scholarly" source. If you were trying to cite this source to use for your final project, would you be able to create a full APA style citation for it? Why or why not?  

3) A crucial part of successful research is coming up with useful search terms. Obviously you'll search for the name of your chosen condition, but what other search terms might you include? Consider:

  • are there other names for your condition? 
  • Is there a broader category of ailments that your condition falls under?
  • try including the particular aspect that you're looking for, such as "treatment guidelines" or "diagnosis" or "prevalence" 

Online Encyclopedias

Start your search for background information with these resources. The Gale eBooks collection includes the full text of over 100 subject encyclopedias spanning multiple disciplines, including the Gale Encyclopedia of Medicine.

Finding Scholarly Articles: Primary Literature & Review Articles

Searching for Medical Information Online

More tips for online research: 

  • Wikipedia is fine to start with, but generally not acceptable as a cite-able source. Use it like you would any other encyclopedia: to get background information, learn useful search terms, and decide how to approach the next stage of your research. 
  • Consider whether your condition affects different demographics differently: are symptoms the same in different age groups, or different sexes?
  • Look for advocacy groups or organizations dedicated to supporting patients or caregivers (try searching for "advocacy" or "caregivers" along with your condition)
  • Check to see whether the information you've found is associated with an organization such as a hospital, research center, or other reputable organization. 

Citing Sources & Using Images

For those who need to include images & figures, but keep in mind best practices of academic integrity and copyright law:

  • Instead of nabbing the first thing you can find on Google Images, can you check to see if there is an image you can use that is in the public domain or available through a Creative Commons license (or similar)?
  • If it's a chart or figure, can you create it yourself and then include a reference to the data?
  • For all images and figures, do you have a clear and understandable caption and a complete reference?