Being able to read and understand research papers isn't just for students and professionals -- it can be helpful as a pregnant person and parent, too. It can initially feel intimidating, but once you dive in and get used to the surroundings, you may find it is not as difficult as you once thought. The more frequently you give it a go, the easier it becomes. We have covered this topic before in several blog posts and an amazing series on our professional blog, Connecting the Dots. Today, I highlight those resources along with some new ones that have been useful to me as a childbirth educator.
Resources for Reading and Understanding Research Papers
How to Find Birth Evidence - Dr. Rebecca Dekker provides a short video tutorial on using the Cochrane Library, the gold standard of medical research and a free benefit for Lamaze members, to find out what current research states about any medical topic.
Understanding Research, an outstanding 16 article series written especially for Connecting the Dots by Andrea Lythgoe, LCCE who also hosts the Understanding Research – The Birth Professional’s Guide. This series breaks things down into manageable topics that are easy to understand.
A free online course for professionals hosted by the Consumers United for Evidence-Based Healthcare, a collaborative project of the U.S. Cochrane Center has developed a free online course in six parts that look in-depth with real-world examples about how evidence can be the foundation for action.
How to Read a Scientific Paper – by Alexandra Witze is an easy to read but very thorough guide to taking a deep dive on a published study. Her step by step instructions makes the thought of reviewing a study seem easy and completely do-able for all of us. This excellent tip sheet is a great place to start!
And finally, Viva La Evidence - a light-hearted parody on evidence based medicine.
Membership in Lamaze International member includes free access to the Cochrane Collaboration and allows childbirth educators to access the newest and most exhaustive collection of research anywhere on earth. Being able to make sense of the studies you will find will benefit yourself and your child now and in the future. It's a skill that will prove valuable time and time again.
Do you have some tips or special techniques that you like to use when reading research? Let us know in the comments section below.
Sharon Muza, BS, LCCE, FACCE, CD/BDT(DONA), CLE has been an active perinatal professional since 2004, teaching Lamaze classes to thousands of families and doula-ing through her private practice in Seattle, WA. Sharon is also a trainer of new birth doulas and childbirth educators. She blogs professionally on perinatal topics. Sharon enjoys facilitating discussion around best practice, current research and its practical application to maternal infant health and community standards. To learn more about Sharon, you are invited to visit her website, SharonMuza.com.
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