How to read a paper

Another goodie from Anne Taylor-Vaisey: Singapore Med J. 2005 Mar;46(3):108-14; quiz 115.

How to read a paper: critical appraisal of studies for application in healthcare.

Makela M, Witt K.


Technology Assessment at Stakes (Research and Development Centre for

Welfare and Health), P O Box 220, 00531 Helsinki, Finland.

[email protected]

Finding and using research results to

support your professional decisions must be a systematic process, based

on the principles of evidence-based medicine and healthcare.

This article takes you through a critical appraisal exercise using a

recent article from the British Medical Journal as an example.

It describes how you decide whether to read and use an article that may

be relevant to your decision.

The reading is guided by a series of questions.

First you evaluate the validity of the article: is the study conducted

and reported so that you may trust the results? The second set of

questions discusses the outcomes, the effect of the intervention and

describes the use of confidence intervals for this.

The possibility of using the research results in the reader's setting

and patient population is then evaluated.

MeSH Terms:

  • Education, Medical, Continuing
  • Evidence-Based Medicine/standards*
  • Humans
  • Information Storage and Retrieval
  • Intervention Studies
  • Judgment*
  • Periodicals*
  • Professional Competence
  • Reading*
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Research Design

PMID: 15735874 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]

Hide comments


  • Allowed HTML tags: <em> <strong> <blockquote> <br> <p>

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.