Critical Reading

Introduction

  • Aims of study stated?
  • Does study match up to the aims?

Method

  • Design of study appropriate?
  • Sample
    • Adequate size?
    • Truly random?
    • Truly blind?
    • Comparable between treatment
    • and control groups?
    • Unchanged during study?
  • Timespan appropriate?
  • Questionnaires avoid bias or ambiguity?
  • Outcome measures “hard” or “soft”?

Results

  • Response rate adequate to avoid bias?
  • Follow-up adequate?
  • Extraneous bias allowed for?
  • Statistics
    • “Normal” distribution of data?
    • Confidence intervals (5% or 1%)
    • Reliability/validity tested?
    • Associations defined?

Discussion

  • Data interpreted objectively?
  • Rational speculation of results?
  • Clinical significance mentioned?

References

  • Up-to-date?
  • Relevant?

General

  • Presentation clear?
  • Results valid?
  • Ethical?

References
Style matters; BMJ 1990;300:38-40
Jewell D; Reading scientific articles; Practitioner 232; 720-25
See also evidence-based medicine

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