Here are some of the standard questions that academic readers ask when reviewing research reports:
- Is the source a first-hand or second-hand account? That is, are the authors reporting results of their own research or reviewing someone else’s work?
- Is the source of publication credible? (For example, an essay in the New England Journal of Medicine would influence most physicians’ opinions about a surgical procedure far more easily than an essay in a biweekly community newspaper.)
- Do the authors work for research institutes, publications, private companies, or universities? Are they well-known authorities? Can you identify any hidden agendas?
- Have the authors followed traditional research methods?