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Postgraduate Education Corner: MEDICAL WRITING TIP OF THE MONTH |

Backing Up Your Statements: How To Perform Literature Searches To Prove Your Points

MaryAnn Foote, PhD
Author and Funding Information

Affiliations: MA Foote Associates, Westlake Village, CA.

Correspondence to: MaryAnn Foote, PhD; e-mail: fmawriter@aol.com


Reproduction of this article is prohibited without written permission from the American College of Chest Physicians (www.chestjournal.org/site/misc/reprints.xhtml).


© 2009 American College of Chest Physicians


Chest. 2009;136(5):1432-1434. doi:10.1378/chest.09-1615
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Extract

Very often when I am reviewing a manuscript or a regulatory document, I will venture on a statement that I believe requires a reference. More often than not, the answer to my author query is “Everyone knows that ….” or “The literature shows that ….” I am reluctant to be argumentative, but I did not know that and would be interested in seeing the literature that shows that!

Whether an author is attempting to validate his/her work in the discussion section of a research paper or is preparing to write a comprehensive review article; or whether a sponsor is attempting to answer questions from a regulatory agency or set the stage for a new product or indication, caution is advised when glibly stating that “current published literature shows that ….”

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