Information about chemical substances may be found in a wide variety of publications and on many kinds of websites. These sources of information vary in quality, reliability, depth, and level of technicality. For one of your assignments you will be looking for information in five different sources: popular literature, information website, desk reference, review article and peer-reviewed research article. Background, starting points and tips for finding and using each source are provided below.
Popular literature is generally non-technical and intended for general readers and consumers. Magazines covering consumer health, popular science, or general news may contain articles about chemical substances, including drugs. Research data and analysis are generally not detailed in these types of publications, nor will you find many references to the research literature. Here are some tips for finding popular literature articles using library resources.
Websites with information on drug substances are numerous. Quality and authority of information on these sites varies widely. To find more reliable results, consider these suggestions.
For more technical chemical information, there are some good choices for websites. However, you should always check the information you find at an informational website against one or more reliable sources, such as handbooks or desk references. Here are some suggestions for starting points when looking for data and other information about chemical substances.
"Peer review" is a process an editor of a journal uses to help judge the quality, validity and originality of the research reported in a journal article. Scientists write an article manuscript, which is submitted to a journal. The editor of the journal sends it to two or more of the author's peers (other scientists) to review. The reviewers recommend whether or not the article should be published.
You can easily tell whether an article has been peer reviewed in one of two ways:
A review article is an article that summarizes the current state of research on and understanding of a particular topic using the previously published studies found in the literature. Review articles help readers identify the main people working in a field, major advances and discoveries, and current debates and ideas about where the research might go next. There are journals that specialize in review articles, e.g., Chemical Reviews. Here are some tips on finding a review article: