Skip to main content

Health Sciences Advanced Search

This guide is designed from postgraduate level students working on primary research projects or dissertations.

Analyzing Research Studies

Once you've found several articles, then you must carefully read and analyze each study to determine whether to use a study for decision-making or not.

When analyzing a research study, ask these questions.

  1. Does the research study answer the research question... specifically and adequately? Or does it only address portions of the question?
  2. Does the principal investigator clearly state the research question and its boundaries?
  3. Does the study's introduction thoroughly discuss the "history" of the topic. Can the reader have confidence that the principal investigator knows enough about the topic to make professional judgments?
  4. Does the principal investigator have proper credentials in the area of the study topic?
  5. Does the principal investigator have adequate knowledge about how to perform scientific research?
  6. Does the study use the correct research method?
  7. Does the research study describe the research method in enough detail and with enough transparency (nothing left out) that the reader has enough information to make a judgment about the study quality?
  8. Does the research study demonstrate an adequate level of scientific rigor?
  9. Is the study outcome the outcome originally stated in the research question?
  10. Does the article honestly and properly analyze statistics and come to rational and reasonable conclusions based on those statistics or do the author's conclusions "massage" the study results to slant the conclusions more toward personal opinion?
  11. Does the study address conflicting information or other points-of-view?
  12. Does the study address previous research studies that may have come to different conclusions?
  13. Is the journal peer-reviewed? 
  14. Is the journal "predatory?"
  15. Does the principal investigator report conflicts of interests?
  16. Is the study's publication date too old to be useful?
  17. Are the study results useful?
  18. Are the study results useful in your local setting?

The more research studies you read and the more BAD research studies you read, the easier it will be to spot the "stinkers."