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Using Research for Clinical Decision-Making: Elements of a Research Report

Course Number: 45A

The References

The References section is the acknowledgment and documentation of the work of other investigators, i.e., a list of sources cited in the paper. The author has an ethical obligation to carefully document the source of all information that is derived from the work of others. Failure to do so is considered plagiarism. Additionally, the accuracy of the references will be crucial to other individuals who are exploring similar areas of research. This should contain classic works related to the topic as well as the most current research.3 Secondary sources, a summary of an investigation by someone other than the original author (such as in a textbook), should be avoided, since misinterpretations are more likely to occur.

A variety of reference formats are used by different journals, including how they are cited in the text (e.g., by superscripted number or author and date), how the references themselves are structured (e.g., placement of date), and the order in which they are listed in the reference section (e.g., by order of appearance in the text or alphabetically). A popular format used in dental and medical literature is that of the National Library of Medicine.6 Another common format is that of the American Psychological Association or APA.7

Below is an example of the References section:

The Clinical Effect of Dentifrices Containing Stabilized Stannous Fluoride on Plaque Formation and Gingivitis - A Six-Month Study with Ad libitum Brushing4


  1. Horowitz HS, Heifetz SB. The current status of topical fluorides in preventive dentistry. Council on Dental Therapeutics. J Am Dent Assoc. 1970 Jul;81(1):166-77.
  2. Tinanoff N. Review of the antimicrobial action of stannous fluoride. J Clin Dent. 1990;2(1):22-7.
  3. Hastreiter RJ. Is 0.4% stannous fluoride gel an effective agent for the prevention of oral diseases? J Am Dent Assoc. 1989 Feb;118(2):205-8.
  4. Klock B, Serling J, Kinder S, Manwell MA, Tinanoff N. Comparison of effect of SnF2 and NaF mouthrinses on caries incidence, salivary S. mutans and gingivitis in high caries prevalent adults. Scand J Dent Res. 1985 Jun;93(3):213-7.
  5. Boyd RL, Leggott PJ, Robertson PB. Effects on gingivitis of two different 0.4% SnF2 gels. J Dent Res. 1988 Feb;67(2):503-7.
  6. Derkson GD, MacEntee MM. Effect of 0.4% stannous fluoride gel on the gingival health of overdenture abutments. J Prosthet Dent. 1982 Jul;48(1):23-6.
  7. Tinanoff N, Manwell MA, Zameck RL, Grasso JE. Clinical and microbiological effects of daily brushing with either NaF or SnF2 gels in subjects with fixed or removable dental prostheses. J Clin Periodontol. 1989 May;16(5):284-90.
  8. Zimmermann A, Flores-de-Jacoby L, Pan P, Pan P. Gingivitis, plaque accumulation and plaque composition under long-term use of Meridol. J Clin Periodontol. 1993 May;20(5):346-51.
  9. Leverett DH, McHugh WD, Jensen OE. Effect of daily rinsing with stannous fluoride on plaque and gingivitis: final report. J Dent Res. 1984 Aug;63(8):1083-6.
  10. Wolff LF, Pihlstrom BL, Bakdash MB, Aeppli DM, Bandt CL. Effect of toothbrushing with 0.4% stannous fluoride and 0.22% sodium fluoride gel on gingivitis for 18 months. J Am Dent Assoc. 1989 Aug;119(2):283-9.
  11. Cummins D, Watson GK. Computer model relating chemistry to biological activity of metal antiplaque agents. J Dent Res. 1989 (68):1702-5.
  12. Mayhew RR, Brown LR. Comparative effect of SnF2, NaF, and SnCl2 on the growth of Streptococcus mutans. J Dent Res. 1981 Oct;60(10):1809-14.
  13. Addy M, Jenkins S, Newcombe R. The effect of triclosan, stannous fluoride and chlorhexidine products on: (I) Plaque regrowth over a 4-day period. J Clin Periodontol. 1990 Nov;17(10):693-7.
  14. Löe H. The Gingival Index, the Plaque Index and the Retention Index Systems. J Periodontol. 1967 Nov-Dec;38(6):610-616.
  15. Silness J, Löe H. Periodontal Disease in Pregnancy. II. Correlation Between Oral Hygiene and Periodontal Condition. Acta Odontol Scand. 1964 Feb;22:121-35.
  16. Lang NP, Hotz P, Graf H, Geering AH, et al. Effects of supervised chlorhexidine mouthrinses in children. A longitudinal clinical trial. J Periodontal Res. 1982 Jan;17(1):101-11.
  17. Lehnhoff RW, Grainger RM. Use of analysis of covariance in periodontal clinical trials. J Periodontal Res Suppl. 1974;14:143-59.
  18. Snedecor GW. Statistical Methods, 5th Ed., Iowa State University Press, Ames. 1966:400-403.
  19. Miller AJ, et al. Oral Health of United States Adults-The national survey of oral health in U.S. employed adults and seniors: 1985-1986. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services-Public Health Service National Institutes of Health NIH Publication No. 872868:69, 1987.
  20. Tinanoff N, Weeks DB. Current status of SNF2 as an antiplaque agent. Pediatr Dent. 1979 Sep;1(3):199-204.
  21. Rykke M, Ellingsen JE, Sönju T. Chemical analysis and scanning electron microscopy of acquired pellicle formed in vivo on stannous fluoride treated enamel. Scand J Dent Res. 1991 Jun;99(3):205-11.
  22. Skjörland K, Gjermo P, Rölla G. Effect of some polyvalent cations on plaque formation in vivo. Scand J Dent Res. 1978 Mar;86(2):103-7.
  23. Yoon NA, Berry CW. The antimicrobial effect of fluorides (acidulated phosphate, sodium and stannous) on Actinomyces viscosus. J Dent Res. 1979 Aug;58(8):1824-9.
  24. Grossman E, et al. Six-month study of the effects of a chlorhexidine mouthrinse on gingivitis in adults. J Periodont Res. 1986 (21)(Suppl 16):33-43.