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4.7 out of 5 stars
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on 15 March 2009
Nice straightforward review of how to systematically assess clinical papers against an evidence based standard.
Frankly most practicing clinicians will be acquainted with at least half the material covered but with revalidation upon us, a reasonably comprehensive work like this probably fills a useful niche.
Probably of greater immediate benefit to medical students, junior staff approaching interviews/PG exams and other healthcare disciplines
Sporting attempt to cover medical stats ultimately falls short but not before highlighting some salient points. Slightly tiresome fawning over the concept of evidence based medicine as a radically new paradigm in medicine that will cure all disease...
Generally a well written and useful summary/how to guide and pretty much worth the cover price
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on 11 March 2005
this book is essential for anyone trying to understand technical journal articles for work or for study. its short, sharp and simple even for statistics and even has room for humour!
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on 9 December 2010
I have used this book when writing two essays - one a critique of a research paper, another an in depth examination of rigour in research using qualitative and quantitative exemplars.

I think it is important to establish what the book is and is not. It is an excellent overview of how to read research. It is not (and at 256 pages, you shouldn't expect it to be) an in-depth guide. This book is more of a field guide to those awful, dull in-depth tomes. It gives the beginner, or the un-familiar, an excellent launching pad. I cannot sing its praises highly enough.

Too many people start research methods with a defeatist attitude. It DOES NOT have to be boring. It DOES NOT have to be irrelevant. By taking this supposedly dry subject and presenting it drily, Trisha Greenhalgh makes research critique palatable - even interesting. How? I shall tell you.

As I suggest above, the subject is approached with good humour and well-placed anecdotes. The book takes on the air of a well-told story rather than acadaemia. Take her approach to evidence and marketing:

"This chapter is about evaluating evidence from clinical trials, and most of that evidence is about drugs. If you are a clinical doctor, nurse practitioner or pharmacist, the pharmaceutical industry is interested in you, and spends a proportion of its multi-million pound annual advertising budget trying to influence you. Even if you are a mere patient, the industry can now target you directly through direct-to-consumer-advertising."

Or on the problem of slow adoption of evidence-based practice by health professionals:

"Health professionals' failure to practice in accordance with the best available evidence cannot be attributed entirely to ignorance or stubborn-ness. Consultant paediatrician Dr Vivienne Van Someren has described an example that illustrates many of the additional barriers to getting research evidence into practice: the prevention of neonatal respiratory distress syndrome in premature babies."

Dry, perhaps. Easy to read, engaging and amusing - definitely.

Greenhalgh considers research critique as a living debate rather than a dead description. She addresses each point with the air of a connoisseur, examining its finer points and illuminating its less favourable features. Words are not wasted - nearly every sentence makes a point and every paragraph contains a neatly dissected argument. Throughout, she refers to current research and opinion, giving the reader a comprehensive reference list from which to move in whatever direction they wish. The most modern developments are handled in such a way that they may remain relevant for as long as possible. Although I am reviewing (and own and have used) her second edition, I used Greenhaigh's third edition in writing an essay during the early part of 2010 and I found none of the points she made to have been rendered irrelevant by time and distance. Some had altered, but minimally, and there were several solid sources suggested that my own lecturers have never mentioned. A good example exists in the form of her 'useful search field label' and 'useful subheading' tables for OVID Medline - no informatics lecturer has yet brought these to my attention.

In short, I have found this book invaluable. It simplifies the hideously complex and provides easy avenues for further exploration without boring you to the brink of an early and painful death.
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on 14 May 2008
This is the second time I have bought this book. I lent it to a friend and never got it back. I have found it invaluable for my MSc and my friend found it a great help for her BSc (obviously!). I highly recommend it to anyone who needs to be able to critically appraise medical literature.
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on 12 February 2016
Must read for any medic. Couldn't rate this book highly enough. Used it preparing for Membership exams and in preperation for ST3 interviews & countless times since when I need to recap.
The dishonourable health secretary, Mr Jeremy *unt could do with reading it. Sadly the author sent him a signed copy (genuinely) but he's never read and continues to twist statistics he doesn't understand.
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on 15 July 2014
Am really pleased I purchased this book. It is simple,straightforward and easy to read if you need to learn basics of evidence- based medicine. Good at guiding you through medical literature and its comprehension.
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on 8 April 2013
The author of the book takes you through various research approaches and studies designs. Then it tells you in a simple and easy to understand language what to look for in these studies, what is relevant and what is not... Great tool which will help you to critically analyse scientific articles.
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on 12 January 2011
Really useful book for getting up to speed on reading research critically, also good for planning a research project - helps to know how to be critical and put the 'right' things into yoru proposal and research
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on 2 March 2014
This book is essential reading for my current research module and I have to say it is a book to keep in your personal library everything you want to know about how to read papers is in this publication. Don't waste time trying to borrow it just buy it. It is written in a very personal way as if the writer is just having a chat with you this approach removes the fear associated with research and encourages you to read further and understand concepts.
Also combine this book with nursing research by Parahoo and you will by sure to pass your research class.
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on 16 April 2013
I still have trouble with reading books on a computer screen, and the electronic copy to which I had access was just sitting on my computer. I'm very glad that Ben Goldacre recommended this book so highly in his book "Bad Science".

I'm not new to reading papers, and thought I was quite good. This book has really taken my ability to read a paper up a notch. Trisha explains clearly what questions to ask, how to calculate from the data features of the studies, and why all that is so important.

This book follows me from table to computer as I read papers and critically evaluate data. Highly recommended if you are interested in asking evidence based questions and evaluating the literature yourself.
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