Guide to published research

Book stacks

It can be difficult to find good information on the internet about low-grade serous ovarian cancer.

Journal articles (otherwise known as papers and studies) are one of the tools your doctors use to make decisions about your treatment. They are written in technical language for doctors and scientists.

Go to our research catalogue.

Types of journal articles

  • Reviews (a summary of all the research in a particular area)
  • Preclinical research (stuff done in a science/medical labratory)
  • Observational studies (researchers don’t influence treatment decisions, they just observe)
  • Interventional/clinical trial (where an intervention (treatment) is given to one or more groups of people and the researchers see what happens)
  • Retrospective studies (look at things that have already happened – observational by nature)
  • Prospective studies (when researchers follow groups of women over time- can be observational or interventional)
  • Case Studies (reports on what happened to one or a few women)
  • Phase 1 clinical trial (test – how much of the drug is safe to give, what the side effects are, how the body copes with the drug and if the treatment shrinks the cancer)
  • Phase 2 clinical trial (test – whether the new treatment works well enough to test in a larger phase 3 trial, which types of cancer the treatment works for, more about side effects and how to manage them, more about the best dose to use)
  • Phase 3 clinical trial (large studies that may compare – a completely new treatment with the standard treatment, or different doses or ways of giving a standard treatment, or a new way of giving treatment with the standard way)

Things to keep in mind when reading a journal article

  • When was it published?
  • What experience/qualifications do the authors have?
  • What type of article is it?
  • If it involves women with cancer, how many? (low grade serous studies are often small which means different studies may find different results. Usually in medicine the more people being studied, the more reliable the results.)
  • The results are the most important part of the study. Do the abstract, discussion and conclusion agree with the results?
  • Are there other studies which have found similar results? (The best type of research is research that has been done in lots of people/samples and repeated by other independent researchers who have found the same thing. Often there will only be one or two studies on a specific topic on low-grade serous. This increases the possibility of conclusions changing in the future.)
  • Lastly you are not a number. Journal articles tell us what happened in the past to a group of people, often the “average” person. Things may change in the future (we hope so!). You are an individual and no study can say with certainty what will happen to you.

How do I find journal articles?

We’ve published a list of recent papers and instructions on how to access them here .


If you’d like to know more – Yale have a free series of lectures on Understanding Medical Research