Reviewing the best tips for obtaining the most accurate scientific information available.
There’s no room for error when performing scientific research. Whether you’re operating in a laboratory setting, in the field, or in a classroom, obtaining even one piece of incorrect information can send your research into a tailspin.
Thankfully, there are a number of ways to obtain accurate scientific research. The most important thing to remember is to use reputable sources, and often, the best way to do this is through scientific journals.
Start with Scientific Journals
Scientific journals can be found everywhere, especially on the internet. While it’s great to have so much information at our disposal, it can also work as a double-edged sword as knowing which ones to turn to is becoming increasingly difficult. Here are some tips to help you navigate:
- Start with primary sources. These are the most reliable sources of information. Look for peer-reviewed journal articles or studies conducted by reputable organizations.
- Go beyond basic online search. Compared to a standard Google search, Google Scholar is an even better way to access scientific journals online. This search engine will allow you to search for scientific journals by keyword. Another great option are online databases such as PubMed. This database provides access to the top scientific journals that are available online.
- Leverage RSS feeds. It is also possible to access scientific journals through the use of an RSS reader. RSS stands for Really Simple Syndication and is a way to receive updates from websites that you subscribe to. Many scientific journals offer RSS feeds that you can subscribe to in order to receive updates when new articles are published.
- Turn to social media. You can also access scientific journals through the use of social media sites such as Twitter and Facebook. Many scientific journals have accounts on these sites that you can follow in order to receive updates when new articles are published.
- Don’t forget about physical locations. Libraries and universities generally have tons of great journals available as well. An advantage to these physical locations over internet research is that people will often be available and willing to assist you, and sometimes you may even get to chat with an expert.
Check Multiple Sources
Don't just rely on one source of information. Look at several different sources and compare the information they provide. This will help you get a more well-rounded picture of the research that has been conducted on a given topic.
Looking at multiple information sources for a given topic can often shed a new light on your project, too. Different scientists tend to look at things different ways and may offer you a new perspective on your research or a valuable tangent to follow. This can lead to exciting new discoveries on your part.
Research the Sources, Too
When you’re trying out a new restaurant, it’s worth spending a few minutes to look at the reviews that other diners have provided. Take a similar approach when evaluating the individuals that put out a journal or whitepaper. It’s a good idea to search for them on Google, check out their LinkedIn profile, and hunt for other sources that will shed light on the individual’s reputability.
Ask the Experts
Ask experts in the field for recommendations. If you know someone who works in a relevant field, ask them for advice on where to find reliable scientific research – or better yet, ask them if they can provide the actual insight you’re looking for.
If you don’t know someone in a relevant field, you can always ask. Turn back to your local universities or even attempt to reach out via LinkedIn or other social media. Many scientists and researchers will be happy to assist!
Efficiency is Key
This starts with recognizing a dead end when you sense one. If a journal or bit of research looks a bit fishy, try not to spend too much time with it. Best case is that you’ll waste a few hours of valuable time, and worst case is that you’ll use inaccurate information in your reporting.
Next, make sure to take accurate notes. This means writing down everything you need to remember from each source, including where you found the information. This will help you keep track of your research and prevent you from accidentally plagiarizing.
Don’t Forget to Cite
Finally, always cite your sources. This means giving credit to the original author or website in your final paper or presentation. Failure to do so could result in charges of plagiarism. By following these simple guidelines, you can ensure that your research is both accurate and ethical.
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