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Know the Science: How To Make Sense of a Scientific Journal Article

The words “Scientific Article” appear at the top of the page, with a fictional title, Clinical Study of Integrative Health Practices, below them. A fictional list of authors, James A. Smith, Ph.D., Karen B. Jones, M.D., Michael C. Helix, Ph.D., M.D., Lauren B. Smartz, Ph.D., R.N., F.N.P., Bryan S. Miller, Ph.D., M.D., appears under the title. The left column shows labeled sections of the journal article: Abstract, Methods, Results, Discussion, Key Words, References. All sections except Key Words are clickable. Gray lines appear in place of the text in each section in the left column and in the entire right column. These words appear at the lower right: Medical Journal Volume 30, Issue 8, August 2022AbstractMethodsResultsDiscussionReferences

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Almost every day, new findings from medical research and studies about possible treatments and practices are published in scientific journals. Some may include complementary health approaches.

These articles often become sources for news stories, and they can be important tools in helping you manage your health. To find reliable information, it’s important to go to the source, such as a research study in a scientific journal. But sometimes finding scientific journal articles, understanding the studies, and interpreting the results can be challenging.

Here are some guidelines to consider that can help you make sense of a health research study.