INFORMATION FOR NEW LNCs

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LNCtips.com: Medical Research Index

I do medical research on all of my medical malpractice cases. As a new legal nurse consultant, you will too. Once you've gathered your research, you'll want to index it so that you and your attorney can quickly find the research for easy review.

A medical research index is just a list of all your journal articles, books, and other clinical information on topics pertinent to your case. There isn't one right way to create a medical research index, but some ways look more professional than others do. Using a standard writing format guide, such as APA or MLA, is a great way to make sure that your index will look uniform and polished. Colleges and professional journals require authors to use APA, MLA and other writing format guides. However, the guides work well for creating citations for a medical research index.

The problem with APA and MLA formats? They have lots of rules. And the rules change depending on the source (book, journal, blog, etc.), the number of authors, and where you obtained the research (print, online).  Who can keep all those rules straight?

Luckily, you don't have to remember any rules. Use one of the many free citation generators on the internet. My favorite is Zotero, but other great citation generators are NoodleBib, Citation Machine and Bibme. These citation generators offer a wide range of choices for formatting internet and traditional research. Try both APA and MLA to see which one you like better. Once you decide, stick with that style for the entire index.

Each citation will look something like this:

Citation

You can then copy and paste each citation in alphabetical order in your index. Notice that the second line is indented.  That's called a hanging indent. When you paste the citation, sometimes you lose the hanging indent formatting. To create a hanging indent in Microsoft Word, highlight the second and subsequent lines and press Control and T at the same time (Control and F7 in WordPerfect).

I usually paste my citations into a two-column table with invisible borders. I use the first column to number the citation and the second column for the citation itself. Then I put the research in a number-tabbed folder or binder. The numbered tabs make it easy to find each research article. To view a sample index, click on Medical Research Index.

Related web page: Basic Internet Research

Want to learn more about LNC skills for legal nurse consultants?  Check out the Archives.

...Katy Jones