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NEUR 10 - Explorations in Neuroscience - Halladay

Learning Outcomes

Through today's exercises, you will:

  • analyze an article's structure and content in order to distinguish research articles from review articles
  • understand and apply PubMed best practices for finding primary research
  • discover information in sections of a review article and sections of a research article in order to read more efficiently and find additional sources


Are you familiar with the differences between primary research studies and review articles?
Yes: 7 votes (58.33%)
No: 0 votes (0%)
I'm not sure: 4 votes (33.33%)
--: 1 votes (8.33%)
Total Votes: 12
How would you describe your confidence in using PubMed and its features such as MeSH, Limits, and Advanced Search?
Extremely confident: 0 votes (0%)
Somewhat confident: 4 votes (36.36%)
Not very confident: 3 votes (27.27%)
I'm a novice!: 3 votes (27.27%)
--: 1 votes (9.09%)
Total Votes: 11
Which of these statements most closely matches how you approach reading a scientific article?
I read the Abstract, then read it from beginning to end: 2 votes (14.29%)
I read the Abstract, then skip to the Discussion, then go back and read relevant parts such as the Introduction: 8 votes (57.14%)
I am not experienced in reading scientific articles: 0 votes (0%)
--: 4 votes (28.57%)
Total Votes: 14

Research Session

 Left mouse: C57BL/6J  Right mouse: 129S1

PubMed Best Practices

  • Immediately after every PubMed search, check the "Search Details" box to see if your search terms mapped properly to MeSH terms.
  • When you find a relevant result, check to see what MeSH terms the item is tagged with; use them to run a new search
  • Click "Advanced" to see your search history and combine relevant searches, or go back to a previous search result


Exercise 1: Mine a Review Article for Primary Studies

Time Estimated: 15 minutes


Skim this Review Article for 5-10 minutes. Work with your neighbor (teams of 2) to complete Exercise 1 in the Google Form worksheet, and be prepared to share your answers and how you arrived at them with the class.


Exercise 2: Search PubMed for Primary Studies

Time Estimated: 10 minutes


Search for one primary research article and complete exercise 2. 

Exercise 3:  Skim and Summarize a Primary Study Out of Order!

Time Estimated: 15 minutes

Instructions: Choose one full-text primary study that you discovered through Exercise 1, Exercise 2, or use THIS STUDY. It must be available in full text in order to complete this exercise! Then follow the instructions and answer these questions in the Google Form worksheet.

Step 1: Read the Abstract. How is this article relevant to your introduction to your paper about your experiments with these lab mice?
Step 2: Read the Discussion. What are the researchers' findings?
Step 3: Read the Introduction. Why did the researchers do this study? What were their research questions, and do they match up with the conclusions you read in the Discussion?
Step 4: Read the Results. Do the data support the conclusions?
Step 5: Read the Methods. Are these methods suitable to gather the results reported?