These days it's not difficult to find sources for massage therapy (MT) research information. Pop in on FaceBook and many practices have their own page. Several of them post research articles as a way to promote MT and don't mind sharing (like mine). Maybe we should define what a research article is. A research article has been peer reviewed and published in a scientific journal. It's usually based on an investigation of a subject the authors were interesting in learning more about and they want to communicate their findings to other interested parties. Here are some great FaceBook evidence resource pages:
Often, you'll hear someone say, off hand, they're doing research on something they're interested in learning more about. This is a form of expanding one's knowledge but it is different than the research we're talking about here. Research in MT uses the scientific method
. Additionally, many students are required to write a "term paper", not usually a research paper. A term paper is most often a review of the scientific literature (referred to as a lit. review). There's not usually any actual, hands on research being conducted (although, sometimes there is).
is a link from Columbia University that explains the research article format. It's pretty standard and helpful for reading through a research article. Let me just say, it takes a while to fully comprehend what you're reading in a research article. How could you, unless you've been on a research project or gone through graduate school? For the time being, just read through the abstract. The abstract is a summary of the research article. Read the background (AKA the intro) and then skip down to the conclusion. If you're still interested, then see what methods they've used in this study. After the methods, check out the results. Then, it's good to read the intro and the conclusion again (because by now the 'ole brain is clicking). If you're still interested, now's the time to read the entire article.
Why should we care about research anyway; we just want to practice, right? Lots of reasons....