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How to Research Your Symptoms Online

People use the Internet to research a myriad of things from what they should buy to why they have pain. These guidelines will help you learn how to research your symptoms online if you have concerns.

Use a Medical MD Symptom Checker

As soon as you enter the phrase, “how to research health symptoms,” into any search engine, you’ll receive results for at least one or more reputable medical MD symptom checkers. These symptoms checkers ask your age, gender, primary symptoms, if you’re pregnant, the severity of your symptoms, your current medications and past or current conditions. Once you click submit, a list of conditions that match your symptoms will appear. You’ll have the option to edit your symptoms or start over if you wish.

Check Reputable Websites

If you can’t find what you’re looking for using a free medical symptom checker, there are websites with articles or blog posts that list symptoms. Make sure you’re looking at reputable websites that end with .org or .edu because these sites tend to contain scholarly or medical information that can be trusted. The Internet is full of information that’s published and not verified. Therefore, it’s essential that you’re looking up symptoms on a website that presents information that’s been fact-checked.

Go to a Doctor’s Website

Under some circumstances, you’ll find an online symptom checker on a physician’s website. If you can’t find a MD symptom checker, you’ll find a plethora of resources on these websites. Doctors work diligently toward providing information for their patients in the way of medical library research materials, informational articles, blog posts and podcasts. Therefore, if you can find a symptom checker, you should be able to find information about the symptoms you’re experiencing.

Visit Forums

Sometimes it helps to hear what others are experiencing when you’re undergoing symptoms that don’t match up with the search results you’ve found. Therefore, it’s time to check out user forums. These discussion areas contain experiences from users who go into detail about the symptoms they’re having, what’s happening throughout their experience and if they’re having successful or unsuccessful treatment. Be cautious, though, as these forums will not replace medical advice and may lead to more worry than help.

Check Out Question-and-Answer Websites

Much like a discussion forum, these websites are where users post specific questions to other users regarding issues they’re experiencing. Under many circumstances, these questions pertain to symptoms they’re experiencing and where they can find resources. Other users will help them find pertinent information regarding their specific symptoms when they feel they’ve exhausted every other avenue.


guidelines for evaluating a research report

guidelines for evaluating a research report

guidelines for evaluating a research report

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A detailed guide on how to evaluate a research report


Why do you need a research report?

According to questionpro , “ Research reports are recorded data prepared by researchers or statisticians after analysing the information gathered by conducting organized research, typically in the form of surveys or qualitative methods.” 

But the real question is, why is it important? Here are some of the reasons how a research report will help you:

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How to evaluate a research report?

In this part, we will look into how to evaluate the research papers, the issues that might occur and a couple of other components too. Because just making a report and not being able to make the best knowledge out of it just won’t do right? 

Introductory chapter: Building the Rationale

When we start reading anything, the first thing we pay most attention to is the introduction chapter. The same goes for a research report, where the introductory chapter helps understand the researcher, his social and psychological views, his education and his reason behind the undertaking of this particular research. 

The key is to pay attention to the language of the report. And by that we mean the WAY it is written. As we know, research is conducted when a researcher decides to test a hypothesis. He is expecting a true or false result. But it may be the case that the researcher is influencing the research with their preferences or decisions. This causes a bias in the research and is generally detectable through the report’s language. 

Biases can be easy to figure out through paying attention to the efforts that researchers have put in gathering information from the resources and how diverse they are. Diversity will make sure that the researcher is not just referring to the sources that support his views, but they shed light on the topic from all the possible angles. 

Another thing to check in this chapter is the justification of the study and its relevance. A researcher has to study a wide range of information to make assumptions and test the theory. It is crucial to know how the researcher has related the topic to that vast area of information. How he has brought down the complexities of the topic to the form that is helping his research topic. 

Last comes the test of quality. Once you have verified the non-biases of the researcher, credibility of the resources and relevancy of the information, this will automatically paint a picture of the research’s quality for you. If the chapter satisfies the key requirements – relevance, importance, timeliness, researchable and researcher’s competency; then the introductory chapter has served its purpose well. 

Review of Literature

This section, depending on the researcher’s choice, can be included in the introductory chapter to build the rationale or can have a separate chapter just to elaborate it further. 

The first major areas that the researcher should elaborate on in this chapter are the findings. When it comes to that, there are three sub-areas to specifically look into:

The second area that this chapter brings to light is the methodology of the research. According to these guidelines, the research should be able to provide the measures of – sampling technique and size, research design, variables used, scaling techniques, research instruments used, data collection and quantitative or qualitative measures used for data analysis. 

Another indication of well structure literature is its scope. What is the scope of the review regarding time and how the literature was constructed and retrieved? Whether the significant data is missing or not. This will define the quality of the literature involved. 

Objectives and Hypothesis

In this section, the objectives are nothing but the questions that the researcher has raised concerning the problem for which he is searching a solution for. As these objectives are the heart of the research, they are likely to cover the following attributes:

The hypothesis is the reason behind the entire result, and they can be proved either true or false. Researchers construct their hypothesis based on the previous conclusions, studies, existing literature, etc. to evaluate the hypothesis, it is important to evaluate the following 4 factors:

Choice of Research Design

After the objectives and hypothesis is laid down correctly, the more important part is which research method or design to use. There are a lot of research designs that researchers use, depending on the requirements of the study. It is equally important to implement the perfect research design that will cover all the aspects of the research and answer all the questions that were put forth for the hypothesis. 

The efficient way to check the accuracy and suitableness of the design is to test it against the objective. If the hypothesis is evaluated concerning relationships, implementing a survey method to check that relationships will be valid. Whereas if the hypothesis is about the effects of treatment over a population, then experimental design will be helpful. There are factors like, treatment, sample size, nature of the study, that influences the researcher to choose the right research design for the study. 

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Choice of Variables

Variables are the fundamental unit of the research. Everything you do with researching, testing experimenting, is being done on the variables. These three types of variables – independent, dependent and intervening variables. Further, depending on the nature of the study, they have sub-types. 

The first variable to check is the dependent variable. It is the one that is getting changed based on how the researcher controls the experiment. The second variable is independent variables. It will be the one influencing the dependent variable. This variable should be chosen carefully and with a lot of considerations. The third is the intervening variable. These are the variables that are generally missed in the study but intervene in the research externally. While conducting the research, it is important to keep track of any such variables that affect the results too. 

It is the researcher’s responsibility to choose the measurable variables, and if not then state their measures too.

Research Instrumentation

Now that we have variables, we need research instruments to measure them. Various research instruments are used such as questionnaires, interviews, tests, etc. to evaluate the research report it is important to choose an instrument to measure the variables. 

Researchers can select a wrong measure instrument and end up gaining incorrect or fewer data. To avoid this, here are some points to keep in mind while evaluating research instruments:

When we say research, we automatically picture studying a sample. It can be people, natural elements or any entity. And when we cannot study the entire population, we select a sample group that best represents the entire population. There are two components to evaluate samples in a study:

Choosing a sample size that suits your research is important and more difficult than it seems. For example, when the research needs to do a detailed interview, the sample size should be small but effective. Whereas while conducting a survey, the sample size can be large which will give more accurate results. In any of those cases, if your sample size is more, it is a waste of research resources and if the sample size is less, it can compromise the results. Various tools in the market calculate the sample size depending on the population amount. 

The second part of the section is sampling techniques. A researcher may use random sampling to make the groups equally treatable, but if the study prohibits randomization, he may have to conduct a study to assign participants in their suitable groups and then treat them as per the study. In any case, the researcher needs to state the reasons and considerations behind the technique which he chose to create samples. 

Data Collection and Analysis

As we go deep inside the research components, we get to the building block of the entire research – Data. No matter what research design you use or how you sample your subjects, it all comes down to the quality of your data. It is generally defined by the way your samples responds to your questions and how much unique they are. 

When the research instrument is sent to the responders, you no longer have control over how they will respond. And mostly it is mechanic. Meaning, the data cannot be relied upon. In such cases, your research can be diluted with the data that is not supposed to be there in the first place. So it is important to check the data for its credibility. 

Data analysis can be qualitative or quantitative . Both being the largely used methods of data analysis, the quantitative method is preferred as it gives statistical results. The size of the sample can be maximum and the questions don’t take much longer to understand and respond to. In qualitative data analysis, the responses are rather descriptive and vast. The research has to take into consideration various things like the language, nature of the respondent, their background, etc. and then conclude things from them and use them in the research. 

Findings and Implications

After evaluating the previous steps, it is now time for the final results. The value of the research lies in this bit of the report. The findings are descriptive. The researcher makes use of tables and graphs wherever necessary. The evaluator should note if tables and graphs are used in the appropriate places or not. 

Implications are equally important. Just stating the results aren’t necessary. What those results say about the study and how they conclude the research will serve the purpose of the entire research. In this section, the evaluator gets to examine the analytical skill of the researcher and see how the study has proceeded. 

Summary and Conclusions

This is a short glimpse of the research and the evaluator gets an idea about how the research is being conducted, what methodologies are used, documentation of the hypothesis and objectives and the final findings. 

Referencing requires skill and knowledge, and most of the students mistake it. A keen evaluator goes directly into the references. As said earlier, the resources that are used in the research play important role in validating the study itself. The evaluator looks for the sources of the information and how legitimate they are. The order that the references are listed also matters a lot. 

The last crucial bit is the annexures. It involves the materials used for the research purpose such as instruments, sampling frame, etc. annexures are also ordered properly. They help the evaluator understand the material used in the research. They need to be fully documented as well.

General Indicators

These are the things we need to pay attention to regarding the language, typing error, presentation and layout, etc. the language should be correct with the proper use of syntax and no grammatical errors whatsoever. Formatting of the report should be consistent throughout including the printing, font, margins, line spacing and the final binding of the pages. 

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Those were the parts of a proper well-framed research report. Each of the sections has its own set of guidelines and the researcher has to adhere to them and present a perfect report. Conducting research is a long and slow but detailed process and summarizing it in a book under these frames is a tough yet creative task.

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Research and Writing (RaW): 5. Evaluate Your Findings

Evaluating Information

1. Identify Your Topic

2. Find Background Information

3. Search for Books or Ebooks

4. Find Scholarly Articles

5. Evaluate Your Findings

6. Outline, Write, and Re-Write

7. Check Your Citations


Why Evaluate?

You should analyze all the information you come across - regardless of whether you're looking for information for academic, professional, or personal reasons. Evaluating information encourages you to think critically about whether or not it is factual and reliable.

A perk of utilizing the library's resources and databases is that you know it's already been reviewed prior to joining our collection. That means half the work has been done for you and you can now focus on whether or not it is current enough and relevant to your needs.

However, if you're utilizing information on the world wide web, you'll need to be extra vigilant and cautious. Anyone can publish anything on the internet, meaning that most of what you'll find there is published without any type of review process.

To assess the resources you have found, consider the following criteria:

1. Currency - the timeliness of the information

2. Relevance - the importance of the information for your needs

3. Authority - the source of the information

4. Accuracy - the reliability, truthfulness and correctness of the information

5. Purpose - the reason the information exists

Think Critically...

With a lot of reading to do it can be tempting to focus 100% on getting that job done. Taking the time to think about what you are reading and your best next steps can help you to stay on track and work smarter, not harder. As you read, consider the following:

Taking the time to consider these questions can help you to work toward a focused and thorough draft.

Go back to your instructions and make sure you've gathered enough appropriate resources to meet your instructor's requirements. Think about what you're trying to do in your paper. Are the resources you've found sufficient in substantiating your claims/arguments?

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Research Paper: A step-by-step guide: 7. Evaluating Sources

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Evaluation Criteria

It's very important to evaluate the materials you find to make sure they are appropriate for a research paper.  It's not enough that the information is relevant; it must also be credible.  You will want to find more than enough resources, so that you can pick and choose the best for your paper.   Here are some helpful criteria you can apply to the information you find:

C urrency :

R elevancy:

A uthority :

A ccuracy :

Evaluating Web Sources

Most web pages are not fact-checked or anything like that, so it's especially important to evaluate information you find on the web.  Many articles on websites are fine for information, and many others are distorted or made up.  Check out our media evaluation guide for tips on evaluating what you see on social media, news sites, blogs, and so on.

This three-part video series, in which university students, historians, and pro fact-checkers go head-to-head in checking out online information, is also helpful.

Evaluation Criteria

Evaluating information in the research process: evaluation criteria, created by health science librarians.

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Significance, intended audience.

Anyone can publish on the web. There is no quality control such as that provided by librarians who select items for their collections. This gives you the opportunity to do the quality control yourself, which can be empowering. But it makes it important for you to develop skills in evaluating information. 

To evaluate online information, consider the following criteria:








How credible or believable is the source? Consider: 

Credentials: academic background, institutional affiliation, or previously published work. 

Arguments: Are arguments for the author's point of view logical and well reasoned? 

Documentation: Are facts and arguments supported by references to existing scholarly literature by reputable authors, organizations, or sources? 

A source may have excellent credentials and yet be of limited value. In some cases, a source with less impressive credentials may turn out to be highly valuable.

Does the source seem to have a hidden agenda or rigidly narrow point of view?

Does the source distort other points of view or dismiss them out of hand? 

Does the source accept advertising? If so, does the advertising appear to bias the information?

Is there a conflict of interest? Does the source stand to profit financially or politically from a particular point of view? 

Although financial motivations can cause information to be biased, keep in mind that many corporate sites are excellent sources of free, valuable information. Just remember to look at the information in context. 

Does the author give supporting documentation for facts presented?     

Is the cited documentation reputable?

Are significant generalizations supported by facts?  

Does the information contradict other reliable sources? 

Does the text include numerous typos?  This can be an indicator of an overall lack of accuracy or poor proof-reading.

You may choose to overlook a minor discrepancy or factual error in an otherwise valuable source. But if you notice such a mistake, it makes sense to be somewhat skeptical. There may be other errors or omissions that you don't notice but that undermine the quality of the information. 

Is the information current?

Currency may be extremely important for topics that are changing on a daily basis, such as information about Internet software and technologies. For other topics, such as a historical survey, currency may be less of an issue. 

The web page should state the name of its author (or institution) and the date it was last modified or reviewed. Of course, the fact that a page was recently modified or reviewed doesn't guarantee that the information it contains is up to date. Check the dates of cited information and search for more recent versions.

Is the information relevant to your topic?

During your initial search, explore broadly so that you won't exclude anything that you may later decide is important.  

As you refine your search, your topic will probably become narrower and fewer items will be relevant. 

Is the information relevant to your topic? 

When you identify your key sources, you will have more stringent requirements and even fewer items will be relevant. 

Is the information significant? 

The content is not valuable to you unless it is significant. The information may be trivial. Or it may be common knowledge. Or it may be too general, and not include enough detail about the subject you are researching. 

Is the information designed for an audience with needs similar to your own? 

For example, a site intended for health care consumers may cover the same subject matter as a site for post-doctoral medical researchers, but the needs of the two audiences are different. 

Does the home page have a site map or menu to give you a sense of the overall structure of the site? 

Does the organization of the site make sense to you? 

Do you have to move through many screens to find the information you want? 

Is the text divided into coherent chunks with headings that are easy to scan? 

Is the text well written and concise? 

Do graphics and visual cues reinforce the content, or are they a distraction? 

Do pages with graphics take a long time to download? 

A web site that is easy to use is more fun and inviting. This encourages us to explore and to learn. A site that is very difficult to use may not be worth your trouble. Bad design does not equal bad information, but your "skepticism meter" should turn on.  

Some sites are designed for interactive learning while others serve primarily as a means of distributing documents. In the second case, you could decide to print out pages of the site rather than reading online. 


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Evaluating research findings.


After some general statements dealing with the need for better research, an instrument for the evaluation of educational research reports is described. The set of guidelines consists of twenty criteria which can be applied by anyone possessing even a cursory knowledge of research methodology.

The Journal of Educational Research is a well-known and respected periodical journal that reaches an international audience of educators and others concerned with cutting-edge theories and proposals. For 100 years, the journal has contributed to the advancement of educational practice in elementary and secondary schools by judicious study of the latest trends, examination of new procedures, evaluation of traditional practices, and replication of previous research. The journal is an invaluable resource for teachers, counselors, supervisors, administrators, curriculum planners, and educational researchers as they consider the structure of tomorrow's curricula. Special issues examine major education concerns in-depth. Theme topics include methodology, motivation, literacy, and professional development.

Building on two centuries' experience, Taylor & Francis has grown rapidlyover the last two decades to become a leading international academic publisher.The Group publishes over 800 journals and over 1,800 new books each year, coveringa wide variety of subject areas and incorporating the journal imprints of Routledge,Carfax, Spon Press, Psychology Press, Martin Dunitz, and Taylor & Francis.Taylor & Francis is fully committed to the publication and dissemination of scholarly information of the highest quality, and today this remains the primary goal.

This item is part of a JSTOR Collection. For terms and use, please refer to our Terms and Conditions The Journal of Educational Research © 1969 Taylor & Francis, Ltd. Request Permissions

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