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How to read a scientific paper

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 
There is a big range of folks here, with a wide range of experience with scientific papers, so I thought I'd start a helpful thread on how to read scientific papers, for anyone who might need some help figuring stuff out.

Please, anyone who has useful resources, do pitch in!

http://www.lib.purdue.edu/phys/inst/....html#mainmenu
How to read a scientific paper (animated!)

http://www.weighttrainersunited.com/...ficpapers.html
This one is for grown-ups

http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/mplusdictionary.html
Medical dictionary from the National Institutes of Health

http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/encyclopedia.html
Encyclopedia, ditto

http://www.vpl.vancouver.bc.ca/branc...l#dictionaries
more medical dictionaries from the Vancouver Public Library consumer health info page

Medical dictionaries freely available online for public use seem to have somewhat limited info, alas, but can help with some of the terminology

Does anyone know of a full-service medical dictionary available online?

Hope this is helpful.
post #2 of 10
Quote:
Does anyone know of a full-service medical dictionary available online?

Hope this is helpful.
This is going to sound lame, but wiki's not bad for a quick run-down on unfamiliar terms sometimes.

Hold on...I'll test it here (opening up a second window...)
Suppose you saw the word "oncogenic virus" and weren't sure what it meant...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oncogenic

Not bad, really...
post #3 of 10
Thread Starter 
Wikipedia is a good idea, but if anything doesn't sound quite right, probably good to check with a second source. Thanks for the suggestion!
post #4 of 10
Thread Starter 
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thimerosal

Here is their article on thimerosal. I tried the same term in two of the dictionaries and the info was very weak. Wikipedia actually looks better.
post #5 of 10



Thanks Deborah for taking the time to do this thread.
post #6 of 10
Thread Starter 
bumping to go with my new thread on epidemiology.

I'd like to do a series on some of the main pieces that need to be considered in evaluating vaxes.

The thread on herd immunity is an excellent example, although it has gotten mired on the smallpox wars, alas.
post #7 of 10
Can we sticky this pretty please : .
post #8 of 10
Thread Starter 
Wanted to add some info on how to get scientific papers to read.

Nowadays, one source is Google Scholar. Another is PubMed. Unfortunately, many articles are not available full-text online. So whaddya do. You found the perfect article, the abstract makes it clear that the answers you are looking for will be there...but it will cost a heap of money to get the full-text, or you can't figure out where to get it even if you do pay.

What you do is contact your local library and ask for help. It takes a week or two, but most public libraries can get you hard copy of many, many articles. Depending on the size of the library, some have direct access to scientific journal database articles and can link you directly to the online version. Others have to go through the inter-library loan process and obtain the article from a college library. There may even be, alas, a small fee. But when it comes to obtaining articles, the library is your friend. Really.

If you happen to have a friend who is a working scientist and doesn't mind helping you out, a shortcut is to ask your friend to get you a copy of the article.

In all cases, get the complete citation before talking to the librarian or friend. It will save time and, in the case of the friend, be less of an imposition. It is okay to impose on librarians (but don't tell any librarians I said so, please).
post #9 of 10
post #10 of 10
Thread Starter 
Thank you.

I had put in the dictionary, but the other three are new and look very useful.
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