How to check the reliability of a research report?

Healthcare is witnessing new inventions and discoveries at a rapid pace.

This high pace of development has pushed physicians always to keep abreast of developments in their specialties.

However, the pace of development is fast that it is practically not possible to get into most in-depth details of everything. A physician has to find reliable sources of information to take important decisions.

One such source of information is research studies. Research studies are found in abundance on almost any topic. However, are all research studies authentic? Can a physician take the risk of relying on information just because it is available in the form of a research study?

Before relying on any such information, a physician should check a few things to ensure the correctness and authenticity of research studies.

1. The very first step is to look for the person or team behind the study. Is it done by any independent and lesser known individual or group? What is their experience in the field? Was the study conducted in a guided framework?

2. The second step is to check for the reviewer of the study. Is there any Information about who reviewed it? An experienced and expert team always reviews the studies. A study that has not been evaluated by experts does not hold good and could sometimes be manipulated for commercial gains.

3. The third step is to check the date and period of study. Is the study recent or old? Most research studies get obsolete within 2-3 years. If you are reading something older, you should look for newer stuff. Along with the date, also check the source of publication. Do not get duped by a fake journal or publication.

4. The fourth step is to look for participation information. Well-conducted studies give exact information on participants like their precise condition, geography, sex, age, etc.

5. Fifth and the last step is to look for sponsor information. Most studies sponsored by the Government or premium institutions or top pharma companies are done within strict guidelines and verified at various stages by qualified personnel.

A smart physician should always refer to the above five steps when reading or looking for a research study. Your patient’s health is the foremost and so is your time.

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