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Evidence-Based Research (EBR): APPRAISE the Evidence

How to Read a Research Article

Research articles are typically structured in a standardized format (IMRaD):

File:Wineglass model for IMRaD structure..png - Wikimedia Commons


  1. Introduction -- Rationale for conducting the study; Articulates the research question; Presents literature review of similar studies.
  2. Methods -- Who were the research participants? What kind of data collection was used? How was the study conducted? 
  3. Results -- Detailed findings, typically with charts and graphs.
  4. Discussion -- What are the practical implications of the study? What are the limitations of the study? What are the recommended future studies?

Questions to Ask to Evaluate a Study

Three basic questions for every type of study:

  • Are the results of the study valid? 
    • Was the sample of patients representative? 
    • Were patients randomized? 
    • To what extent was the study blinded? 
    • Aside from the experimental intervention, were groups treated equally? 
    • Was follow-up complete?
  • What are the results? 
    • How large was the treatment effect? 
    • How precise was the treatment effect?
  • Will the results help in caring for my patient? 
    • Were the study patients similar to my patient? 
    • Are the likely benefits worth the potential harms and costs?

PDF Document with more questions to consider: