Skip to Main Content

Bachelor of Health Sciences

Parts of a Research Paper

Reference/Citation - Data about a source. 

Abstract - "Teaser" of what the paper is about.

Literature Review - What have others already written about? What do we know? What are the knowledge gaps?

Methodology - What was the approach? How was the study designed?

Results and Discussion - Outcomes (including negative results).

Limitations - "Blind spots" identified.

Conclusion - A look to the future.

Funding - Who paid for this research study? 

Reference List - Information used to inform the writing/creation of the piece

Cited by's - Who has cited the paper since it's been published?

Evidence Pyramid - click the pic

Peer Review

  • "Peer Review" is a check and balance process to assess the rigour of a scholarly submission to a journal (and some conferences).  Articles that go through a peer review process are read over by ~3-5 colleagues in a similar field. Data is scrutinized and edits are provided for the author(s) to revise and resubmit. Emphasis is placed on the reproducibility of research results/data.
  • Blind peer review is where the reviewers know the identity of the authors, but the authors do not know who the reviewers are.
  • Double blind peer review requires anonymization of the submission (including references to lab/institution etc) and both the reviewers and the authors do not know the identity of the other
  • Journals can be peer-review but be aware that not all the article types (opinion, letters etc) will be peer-reviewed.
  • Remember: a scholarly publication doesn't necessarily mean it is a peer-reviewed publication, and peer-review is not a perfect system.
  • Ulrich's Web - A directory of publications - double check if a journal is peer reviewed!
  • OR...go to the publisher website (click on the URL on the top of the article) and check the About Us and/or Author Guidelines. Do a Control-F or Command-F function for "peer review" to find out if the publication contains peer reviewed journal articles.

Evidence Based and Evidence Informed Practice

The EBM Pyramid

FROM: Applied Evidence Based Medicine Research Guide

The image below shows the progression from evidence to evidence-based resources. The "Hierarchy of Evidence" box shows which types of study are considered best (in descending order of quality) for therapy and harm studies (RCTs, for example, are better than observational studies as a general rule). Questions of diagnosis, prognosis, and differential diagnosis require different hierarchies of study design which you can read more about in Users' Guides.

Because there are too many primary studies for anyone to keep up with, there are "processed" publications, such as guidelines and systematic reviews, that attempt to summarize/synthesize evidence and give you an answer that you can apply in your practice.

On the right, the pyramid ranks the order in which practitioners should consult clinical resources: first try to find the answer in a guideline or summary tool like DynaMed. If that doesn't yield an answer, try to find a systematic review or synopsis (such as those published in ACP Journal Club). If you're still not finding answers, you may need to delve into the primary literature and do a PubMed search to find original studies.


Finding Current Best Evidence, Guyatt G, Rennie D, Meade MO, Cook DJ. Users' Guides to the Medical Literature: A Manual for Evidence-Based Clinical Practice, 3rd ed; 2015. Available at: Accessed: April 01, 2020


Further Reading: