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I've seen several questions on this site (and expect to see many more as time goes by) that would benefit greatly from objective data to go on. However, the majority of studies of child behavior, parenting strategies, educational topics, health topics, etc. are heavily paywalled -- to the point that raw, uninterpreted information is available only to a privileged few at universities and other research institutions. Even professionals must often rely on journal articles and summaries, which are subject to a great deal of interpretation.

I do not feel that we should settle for citing summaries of and articles about real research if we can help it -- it is impossible to evaluate the correctness of a conclusion without knowing not only the data upon which it was based, but the methodologies used to obtain that data.

What's a parent to do?

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Here are some options:

  1. Search from PubMed Central's free archive of journals (also try the UK PubMed)
  2. MayoClinic has reputable summaries of medical research on its website
  3. search google for the article title in quotes + filetype:pdf (see this example)
  4. search google scholar, and when the article you want shows up, click the 'all 3 versions' and see if one is in pdf format
  5. ask your librarian for help obtaining an article
  6. write your congressperson and demand that federally funded research be made freely available
  7. Email the corresponding author and ask for a copy by pdf (perhaps if above options do not work)

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