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How to Read a Research Article
Research articles are typically structured in a standardized format (IMRaD):
- Introduction -- Rationale for conducting the study; Articulates the research question; Presents literature review of similar studies.
- Methods -- Who were the research participants? What kind of data collection was used? How was the study conducted?
- Results -- Detailed findings, typically with charts and graphs.
- 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: https://sites.duke.edu/ebmworkshop/files/2012/06/all_worksheets.pdf