Blinded by science

Don’t just read nursing research – analyze. Be critical! Does the data make sense to you? Do you even know what a p-value is? Don’t be dazzled by fancy numbers –find out what it all means.

Reading about a new and unfamiliar drug? Look it up! Learn about dosage, side-effects, alternative names.

Always go to the primary source of the information. Some students find a piece of information in a journal article that has been written by another author, accompanied by the appropriate in-text citation. Instead of tracking down the original article through the reference list, students want to reference a “source within a source”, known as a secondary source citation. This is a bad idea, as you are relying on someone else’s interpretation of the original source, and you lose the wider context of the information. This watered down approach can lead to strange interpretations of studies – and before you know it, we are drinking more red wine than ever in the hopes that it will cure all our ills.

So don’t let the impressive jargon and confusing numbers slip past you – find the best evidence, and then actively engage with the material. Lively debate is what science is all about, so ask questions, fill the gaps in your knowledge and share what you find with your colleagues. We can’t wait to hear from you.

Image: Medieval dentistry. Retrieved from


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