Understanding Research Studies
This two part series seems perfect for my daily blog purposes. As you well know, I often write about new research studies, and I am well aware of how difficult they can be to understand. Scientific language is very confusing, and words are used in different ways than in ordinary conversation. This is an excellent article from ASCO's Cancer Net about how to read and understand these studies. Especially if you sometimes click on the links that I include or read articles from other sources, do take a few minutes to read this. Here is an excerpt and a link; I will post the second article in the series tomorrow.
Publishing research studies is the primary way scientific professionals use to communicate their findings.
They may publish original research or write a review article, which evaluates the existing body of publishedresearch on a particular topic. Well-designed research studies can help answer important questions about the biology of cancer, investigate new treatments, and identify areas for further study. Of course, the goal ofresearch is to improve the care and treatment for patients with cancer.
Although the intended audiences for most cancer research studies are medical and scientific professionals, itis becoming more common for patients and their families to read studies while researching informationabout their cancer type and the treatment options. However, because research studies are written in a specific format and use scientific terms, it might be hard for a person to understand and interpret them. Thisarticle—the first in a two-part series—is designed to help you better understand the publishing process, the format that journals and other scientific publications use to share findings, and how to find studies ofinterest to you. Part II in this series discusses various types of study designs and provides tips for evaluatingstudy results.