Systematically Reviewing Previous Work
Many of us tend to regard reviewing previous literature as an unexciting chore, perhaps because well-read laboratory chiefs appear to consider the research review as a low-priority activity to be delegated to a research assistant or the most junior member of the team. For many, the excitement lies in carrying out a new experiment to add more information to what already exists. They regard poring over old research reports as a boring or less creative step. This is a major error in thinking. The accumulation of evidence is an important goal underlying all scientific inquiry. This is as true of surgery as of theoretical physics. An individual study is seldom an isolated event, but rather part of a continuum in which each new endeavor builds upon preceding work. New findings lose much of their value if they are not linked with the accumulated wisdom, both theoretical and empirical, of earlier reports.
KeywordsStratification Straw Halothane Plague Amaze
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