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Pharmacy: Choosing the right resource

Finding the right resource

There are many resources which can be used to search for journal articles, so how to do you know you are using good quality articles for your assignment.  One of the key approaches is to use the resources the library has made available to you.  For example, the key databases for your subject provided by the library will search across a large section of the literature and you can be assured of the quality of what you retrieve through these.  If you find literature through other sources it is good practice to evaluate them.

finding the right resource

How do you evaluate resources you find?

You may not always be able to use the resources found through the Library so its always good practice to evaluate the information you find to ensure it's of a good quality.  There are some quick tips and checks you can carry out yourself. 

Ask yourself:-

  • WHO?
    • who created the content? 
    • are they reputable in this particular field?
    • what do you know or what can find out about the author(s)?
    • can you verify their sources?
  • WHY? 
    • why has the resource been created? 
    • is there any bias in the content for commercial gain?
    • is it objective?
  • WHEN? 
    • check how current the information is? 
    • when was the site last updated?


What are predatory journals?

Predatory journals are those which have not followed the standards of academic publishing.  They do not follow the peer review process and do not have the normal editorial processes in place.  They usually offer very quick publishing for authors at a high cost.

How do you avoid predatory journals?

There are some quick ways you can spot a predatory journal:-

  • check if the journal is listed on DOAJ or COPE  (NB very new journals may not appear)
  • look for an editorial board and contact details which should be displayed on the journal website
  • look for an outline of the peer review process 
  • are the journals indexed on key databases for your subject area (eg Medline or Embase)
  • Follow the Think>Check>Submit tools and resources


How to appraisee specific types of articles

Once you have retrieved the relevant literature there are some useful tools to help you appraise it.  Below are links to some that are freely available.