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NFS 3025 Professionalism in Dietetics: Research vs. Review Articles

Course guide for students in NFS 3025 Professionalism in Dietetics. This guide will be a great starting place for doing research.

Identifying Peer-Reviewed Journal Articles

What is a Peer-Reviewed Article?

A peer-reviewed article is one that is written by an expert in a specific field and has been evaluated by other experts in the field and found to meet certain standards for quality. Also known as scholarly, academic, or refereed articles, peer-reviewed articles are published in journals that are designed to be read by other experts in the field. As a result, the language is subject-specific. 

Research Articles and Review Articles Defined Review

"A research article is a primary source...that is, it reports the methods and results of an original study performed by the authors. The kind of study may vary (it could have been an experiment, survey, interview, etc.), but in all cases, raw data have been collected and analyzed by the authors, and conclusions drawn from the results of that analysis.

review article is a secondary source...it is written about other articles, and does not report original research of its own.  Review articles are very important, as they draw upon the articles that they review to suggest new research directions, to strengthen support for existing theories and/or identify patterns among existing research studies.  For student researchers, review articles provide a great overview of the existing literature on a topic.   If you find a literature review that fits your topic, take a look at its references/works cited list for leads on other relevant articles and books!"

From http://apus.libanswers.com/a.php?qid=153014, "What's the difference between a research and a review article?"

Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses are NOT Research Articles. They are REVIEW articles.

Systematic Review

"A summary of the clinical literature. A systematic review is a critical assessment and evaluation of all research studies that address a particular clinical issue. The researchers use an organized method of locating, assembling, and evaluating a body of literature on a particular topic using a set of specific criteria. A systematic review typically includes a description of the findings of the collection of research studies. The systematic review may also include a quantitative pooling of data, called a meta-analysis" -taken from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality Glossary (no longer online).

Meta-Analyses

"A way of combining data from many different research studies. A meta-analysis is a statistical process that combines the findings from individual studies" -taken from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality Glossary (no longer online).

All Reviews (also called overviews) Reviews that are not systematic (traditional narrative reviews). Systematic reviews. Meta-analyses. Individual patient data (IPD) meta-analyses.

Image from TeachEPI.org

Systematic Review Well-defined research question to be answered by the review.  Conducted with the aim of finding all existing            evidence in an unbiased, transparent, and    reproducible way.  Attempts are made to find ALL existing       published and unpublished literature on the      research question. The process is documented and reported. Reasons for including or excluding studies are explicit and informed by the research         question. Systematically assess risk of bias of individual studies and overall quality of the evidence,   including sources of heterogeneity between study results.  Base conclusion on quality of the studies an provide recommendations for practice or to address knowledge gaps.  Traditional Literature Review Topics may be broad in scope, the goal of the review may be to place one’s own research within the existing body of knowledge, or to gather information that supports a particular viewpoint. Searches maybe ad hoc, and based on what the author is already familiar with. Searches are not as exhaustive or fully comprehensive. Often lack clear reasons why studies were     included or excluded from the review.  Often do not consider study quality of          potential biases in study design.  Conclusions are more qualitative and may not be based on study quality.

Research Article Break Down

Research articles follow a particular format.  Look for:

  • A brief introduction will often include a review of the existing literature on the topic studied, and explain the rationale of the author's study.
  • methods section, where authors describe how they collected and analyzed data.  Statistical analysis are included.  
  • results section describes the outcomes of the data analysis.  Charts and graphs illustrating the results are typically included.
  • In the discussion, authors will explain their interpretation of their results and theorize on their importance to existing and future research.
  • References or works cited are always included.  These are the articles and books that the authors drew upon to plan their study and to support their discussion.
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