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*Physical Therapy

LibGuide created to help students and faculty in the School of Physical Therapy.

What's On This Page?

On this page you'll find tips for evaluating your search results and the sources you choose to use. 

Evaluate Your Results

Check if a result is worth your time before you read it. Use clues in the database or search engine to decide if you should read it.

  • Check for relevant words (databases and search engines often put these in bold font)
    • The title
    • The journal, book, or website it is in
    • The keywords or subjects listed for that result
    • The abstract, summary, or snippet
  • Look at the publication date. Is that result current enough?
  • Review the length. Is it too short to be useful? Is it longer than you have time to understand?
  • Check for unusually high numbers in the "Cited By" tool that some databases and search engines have. Those articles might be seminal or landmark articles. Or, those articles might be examples of problematic studies. Investigate to find out!

Read a Detailed Record

Check out the example of a detailed record below.  This example has certain terms circled to highlight information that you'll want to look for when you're evaluating an article.

Tips to Remember:

  • Start with the title and work your way down through publication type, subjects, abstract, journal subset and instrumentation.
  • The author(s), journal and database want you to know what the article is. They aren't trying to trick you.
  • Reviews are reviewing the research, so when you're looking at publication type if you see review AND research, review usually takes precedence.
  • Mixed methods research uses qualitative AND quantitative, so remember to check for both. 
  • Are there other assignment criteria for the article you're evaluating? Don't forget those too!
  • Think you've found an article that works?  Remember to read the whole article to be certain!

Screen shot of detailed record and abstract with important features circled.

How Do I...?

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