Sponsorship, conflicts of interest, limitations of the research

1. Is the study sponsored?

The authors of any research should say whether or not it has been sponsored. The need for this to be stated was clearly outlined in Week 1 when we looked at the impact of sponsorship on research. If a study is being sponsored and the organisation funding it is unknown to you, it may be useful to do a quick internet search for more information about that organisation.

2. Do the authors have any conflicts of interest?

Do the authors have a relationship with an organisation that may benefit from the results of the research? It’s important to note that this relationship doesn’t mean anything inappropriate was done but transparency is important.

Cardiff University like other educational institutions requires researchers to comply with certain rules. These include a “fundamental requirement…that conflicts of interest, whether actual or potential, should be identified, declared and addressed as soon as they become apparent.”

You’ll note that Fiona Morgan, the lead educator has made it clear throughout that she once worked in the pharmaceutical industry and consequently could be perceived to have a potential conflict of interest.

3. Do the researchers discuss any limitations of the research?

However well researchers plan there generally will be problems of some description with the research. It’s important that any limitations that may affect the results are identified and discussed.

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This article is from the free online course:

Making Sense of Evidence: The Informed Health Consumer

Cardiff University