Research into Literature Precedent

Not Voodoo Home / Comments? / Anatomy of a reaction

A Perfect Reaction (see all): You find a procedure that worked on a system very similar to yours, and all the functional groups in your molecule will be compatible with the reaction conditions. The procedure is described in detail by a respected research group, and has been referenced often by others.

A Nightmare Scenario (see all): Theory suggests that the experiment will work. However, the only precedent you find is either (a) in another language (b) from 1927 (c) has no experimental explanation or (d) was published by a group nobody knows about and has never been cited.

Step by step:

  1. Do a database search to see if the reaction has been done before on a system like yours. Notice how many different authors report similar chemistry.
  2. Look at some of the papers describing the transformation and take note of
  3. If possible, find a review article describing the reaction and read about the scope and limitations of the chemistry
  4. Always find and read the original paper that popularized the transformation
  5. Choose a procedure to follow, taking all factors into consideration
  6. Copy or print the entire journal article, not just the pages you need.

Special Topics:

The Literature: Notes