Three Reasons You Should Read Research

Corey Rivera | June 27, 2023

Three reasons you should read research:

1. It’s the best way for you to make your own decisions. You can reasonably assume the authors have their own goals and biases, including wanting to be published, desiring to do influential work, and proving to their funders that their money was well spent. Knowing those things, you can read with an eye of skepticism, an eye of openness and an eye of possibility. (Yes, I realize that’s three eyes.)

2. You can come up with more questions. You can question this work, how it relates to other research, how it contradicts other research.

3. You can read the references page and find new research to read!

Three reasons you might not read research:

1. You can’t get a hold of it. While the IJTMB is open-access, there is a large amount of massage-related research that is hidden behind outrageously expensive paywalls. Common solutions include asking the author for copies (probably your best bet), finding a friend in academia to send you PDFs (we should all have such a friend), finding a library that will give you access (some of them won’t), and piracy (which is obviously illegal).

2. You don’t have enough practice to feel confident doing it. New things are uncomfortable for many reasons. While part of that has to do with confidence, some of it also has to do with energy. It takes a lot of glucose (literal energy) to do a new activity. Choosing to use your precious brain-sugar on this uncomfortable task instead of something easier/nicer/more productive means deciding reading that paper is a priority.

3. You have a learning disability. Research is not formatted in a manner friendly to the neurodiverse. It is closely spaced. The fonts can be terrible. It can have several columns. The graphics can be overwhelming. The writing style is very particular. Sitting down for 30-90 minutes at a time might be challenging. That song playing in the back of your head is really distracting.

All of these reasons and more are why I create infographics of research. I want you to be able to read those papers with some amount of comfort, but I understand there are barriers. While we as a profession work on those barriers, there need to be ways to communicate the new information we are learning.