• We are sorry, but NCBI web applications do not support your browser and may not function properly. More information
Logo of cmajCMAJ Information for AuthorsCMAJ Home Page
CMAJ. Apr 15, 1988; 138(8): 697–703.
PMCID: PMC1267776

Guidelines for reading literature reviews.

Abstract

One strategy for dealing with the burgeoning medical literature is to rely on reviews of the literature. Although this strategy is efficient, readers may be misled if the review does not meet scientific standards. Therefore, guidelines that will help readers assess the scientific quality of the review are proposed. The guidelines focus on the definition of the question, the comprehensiveness of the search strategy, the methods of choosing and assessing the primary studies, and the methods of combining the results and reaching appropriate conclusions. Application of the guidelines will allow clinicians to spend their valuable reading time on high-quality material and to judge the validity of an author's conclusions.

Full text

Full text is available as a scanned copy of the original print version. Get a printable copy (PDF file) of the complete article (1.6M), or click on a page image below to browse page by page. Links to PubMed are also available for Selected References.

Selected References

These references are in PubMed. This may not be the complete list of references from this article.
  • Haynes RB, McKibbon KA, Fitzgerald D, Guyatt GH, Walker CJ, Sackett DL. How to keep up with the medical literature: I. Why try to keep up and how to get started. Ann Intern Med. 1986 Jul;105(1):149–153. [PubMed]
  • Labarthe DR. Mild hypertension: the question of treatment. Annu Rev Public Health. 1986;7:193–215. [PubMed]
  • Sacks HS, Chalmers TC, Berk AA, Reitman D. Should mild hypertension be treated? An attempted meta-analysis of the clinical trials. Mt Sinai J Med. 1985 Apr;52(4):265–270. [PubMed]
  • Guyatt GH, Webber CE, Mewa AA, Sackett DL. Determining causation--a case study: adrenocorticosteroids and osteoporosis. Should the fear of inducing clinically important osteoporosis influence the decision to prescribe adrenocorticosteroids? J Chronic Dis. 1984;37(5):343–352. [PubMed]
  • Baylink DJ. Glucocorticoid-induced osteoporosis. N Engl J Med. 1983 Aug 4;309(5):306–308. [PubMed]
  • Swan HJ, Ganz W. Hemodynamic measurements in clinical practice: a decade in review. J Am Coll Cardiol. 1983 Jan;1(1):103–113. [PubMed]
  • Robin ED. The cult of the Swan-Ganz catheter. Overuse and abuse of pulmonary flow catheters. Ann Intern Med. 1985 Sep;103(3):445–449. [PubMed]
  • Harrington JT, Isner JM, Kassirer JP. Our national obsession with potassium. Am J Med. 1982 Aug;73(2):155–159. [PubMed]
  • Kaplan NM. Our appropriate concern about hypokalemia. Am J Med. 1984 Jul;77(1):1–4. [PubMed]
  • Mulrow CD. The medical review article: state of the science. Ann Intern Med. 1987 Mar;106(3):485–488. [PubMed]
  • Sacks HS, Berrier J, Reitman D, Ancona-Berk VA, Chalmers TC. Meta-analyses of randomized controlled trials. N Engl J Med. 1987 Feb 19;316(8):450–455. [PubMed]
  • Poynard T, Conn HO. The retrieval of randomized clinical trials in liver disease from the medical literature. A comparison of MEDLARS and manual methods. Control Clin Trials. 1985 Dec;6(4):271–279. [PubMed]
  • Simes RJ. Publication bias: the case for an international registry of clinical trials. J Clin Oncol. 1986 Oct;4(10):1529–1541. [PubMed]
  • Simes RJ. Confronting publication bias: a cohort design for meta-analysis. Stat Med. 1987 Jan-Feb;6(1):11–29. [PubMed]
  • Huth EJ. Needed: review articles with more scientific rigor. Ann Intern Med. 1987 Mar;106(3):470–471. [PubMed]
  • Messer J, Reitman D, Sacks HS, Smith H, Jr, Chalmers TC. Association of adrenocorticosteroid therapy and peptic-ulcer disease. N Engl J Med. 1983 Jul 7;309(1):21–24. [PubMed]
  • Conn HO, Blitzer BL. Nonassociation of adrenocorticosteroid therapy and peptic ulcer. N Engl J Med. 1976 Feb 26;294(9):473–479. [PubMed]
  • Chalmers TC, Smith H, Jr, Blackburn B, Silverman B, Schroeder B, Reitman D, Ambroz A. A method for assessing the quality of a randomized control trial. Control Clin Trials. 1981 May;2(1):31–49. [PubMed]
  • Horwitz RI. Complexity and contradiction in clinical trial research. Am J Med. 1987 Mar;82(3):498–510. [PubMed]
  • Sacks H, Chalmers TC, Smith H., Jr Randomized versus historical controls for clinical trials. Am J Med. 1982 Feb;72(2):233–240. [PubMed]
  • Cooper HM, Rosenthal R. Statistical versus traditional procedures for summarizing research findings. Psychol Bull. 1980 May;87(3):442–449. [PubMed]
  • Susser M. The logic of Sir Karl Popper and the practice of epidemiology. Am J Epidemiol. 1986 Nov;124(5):711–718. [PubMed]
  • Guyatt GH, Newhouse MT. Are active and passive smoking harmful? Determining causation. Chest. 1985 Sep;88(3):445–451. [PubMed]

Articles from CMAJ : Canadian Medical Association Journal are provided here courtesy of Canadian Medical Association

Formats:

Related citations in PubMed

See reviews...See all...

Cited by other articles in PMC

See all...

Links

  • Cited in Books
    Cited in Books
    PubMed Central articles cited in books
  • MedGen
    MedGen
    Related information in MedGen
  • PubMed
    PubMed
    PubMed citations for these articles

Recent Activity

Your browsing activity is empty.

Activity recording is turned off.

Turn recording back on

See more...