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Finding information for Pharmacy

MPharm 1

Evidence base and evaluate

Evaluating information.

Ask some simple questions of any material you may find on an internet search, or of any material you use for your assignments. 

Who wrote or produced the material?

  • Are they recognized and reliable, for example academics, clinicians

  • Journal articles should usually be peer-reviewed: so, carefully by reviewers of an equivalent professional standing before acceptance

  • If you want to read more about peer review, check out this article from PubMed (Kelly, Sadaghieh and Adeli, 2014)

What did they write?  For example:

  • a general opinion piece or blog post with no referenced evidence

  • content for an accredited body such as the General Medical Council (GMC) or World Health Organisation (WHO

Check the domain name for a website:

  • for UK academic sites;edu for USA academic
  • .com usually means a commercial product
  • .org indicates a non-profit organisation such as a charity or campaign group 

When was the piece written? 

  • Currency (being up-to-date) is crucial
  • Guidelines, treatments, pharmaceuticals all  change and develop.  Do not use old versions!

Why was the piece written?

  • To inform, promote, guide or mislead?
  • To inform:
    • health workers of a national guideline update
    • the public about the current state of an epidemic or pandemic
  • To promote, sell, or distribute ...?
    • an alternative 'medicine' on the internet
    • questionable theories such as MMR vaccines and autism



Kelly,J.,  Sadaghieh, T. and Adeli, K. (2014)  'Peer review in scientific publications', Journal of the International Federation of Clinical Chemistry and Laboratory Medicine, 25 (3), pp. 227-243. 


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