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Referencing Guidelines for Case Study Assignment

Assignment Instructions

Full instructions for the Case Study Assignment are located here:

The requirements for sources used are:

  • References should be from scholarly sources, with at least one reference from Prescriber’s Letter.
  • Keep in mind that point of care resources, such as DynaMed, Essential Evidence Plus, Lexicomp, and UpToDate, should be used sparingly.
  • Diagnostic Screening Tools may NOT be used.

Answers to the frequently asked questions below will provide further information and guidelines about resources to use for the assignment.

General Questions

A scholarly source is written by an expert in the field to contribute knowledge to that field, and is peer-reviewed by other experts. Review the explanation of scholarly journal articles in section 4 of Library 101 for further information.

Ideally current references for pharmacology information should be within the last four years. Medical management, scientific information, and specifically, pharmacologic recommendations change so quickly that current, credible resources are essential.

Articles on topics which do not become quickly outdated, such as cultural issues, patient adherence, drug history, etc., may be greater than four years old. Another exception is a seminal article. This is an article that has greatly influenced further research in the field, or article made a point or discovery that was pivotal in patient care or management and remains pertinent (and current!).

Questions about Resources to Use

References should be from national or international peer-reviewed psychiatry and specialty care journals that reflect evidence-based practice. References should be written for an advanced practice prescriber. For help with searching for articles, review section 2 of Library 101, or visit the Library Help page.

Additional references may be from nationally and/or internationally recognized organizations that provide evidence-based information and produce clinical practice guidelines. Examples of these organizations include the Institute of Medicine, National Institutes of Health, American Academy of Pediatrics, American Academy of Family Practice, Centers for Disease Control, National Heart Lung and Blood Institute, American College of Nurse-Midwives, American Congress of Obstetricians & Gynecologists, American Psychiatric Association, American Psychological Association, etc.

Be cautious when accessing these sites -- select the information tab for professionals as opposed to information provided for the lay public. Also be aware that you still must review their information with a critical eye. Use your evidence-based skills knowledge -- they are not always the final word on an evidence-based issue.

Look closely at guideline publication dates – they may not have been revised for quite some time. If the guidelines have not been published recently, more current research articles that identify current information should be utilized in addition to the guidelines. The goal is that you use the most current, credible information available for analysis.

Some favorite sites for investigating quality information are Prescriber’s Letter and Medscape. They often have current guidelines, recommendations, and in-depth discussions on the thought processes related to prescribing. However, do not overuse these sites. You must use other resources as well.

Questions about Other Resources

No. These types of sources are condensed versions of a compilation of research, and are secondary sources. Examples include (but are not limited to): Up To Date, DynaMed, Essential Evidence Plus, the Merck Manual, Lexicomp, Epocrates, 5-Minute Clinical Consult, etc. They provide a rough summary of information that is not consistently evidence-based. Point of care resources do not provide the depth that is needed for critical analysis of your topic. These reference sources may be used to generate ideas; however, you are expected to locate the original article(s).

Yes, briefly. When you are providing the recommended dosage for a drug that you have selected as acceptable, at that time, you may access point of care references for your dosages, frequency, potential side effects, etc. Again, use the text and scholarly resources first for these points, then secondary resources to fill in any missing areas, or to reinforce the primary resource.

Consumer health information found in newspapers, general interest magazines, or websites should NOT be used for this assignment. Examples of such websites include (but are not limited to), WebMD,, Wikipedia, University of MD,,, MedMD, and Physician’s Drug Reference (PDR).

Questions about Course Resources

Do not cite or reference the faculty from the lecture sections of the course. If you want to cite or reference information from the lecture sections, check the references, review the one you want to use, and cite that specific reference from your own study and review.

The majority of references in the development of your case studies should not be obtained from a textbook. Textbooks are secondary sources. They are great for providing a lot of information on a wide variety of topics, yet as a result, they cannot be expected to provide significant depth regarding treatment. Another problem with texts is that they are typically finished the year before their publication date. The information they have placed in the text therefore is at least two years old when it is published. In pharmacology, recommendations, warnings, etc. can change overnight so that is why investigating what is currently recommended through quality, current sources is essential. At the same time, you will find aspects of the texts are consistent with the literature!

A good analogy for this question is learning to cook. When learning to cook you may initially be unable to pick up a recipe and create the item. That is because you have to know what to do with the recipe before you can actually use it. References such as Lexicomp, Up to Date, Dynamed, Epocrates, the Merck Manual, etc. are the “recipes”. The textbook, along with current articles, are what provide a foundation for learning how to use the “recipe.”

Questions about CAM Resources

For this assignment, Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) is not a pharmaceutical nor is it an over the counter medication or vitamin. See the following link for more information on the meaning of CAM:

You must use Natural Medicines and/or Resources for Health Care Providers from the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health as one your resources for CAM.

Apply the same rules for pharmaceuticals for your CAM choices if articles & guidelines are available. In other words, if there is a current, scholarly, evidence-based article on your CAM, you should use it.