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Prim Care. 2006 Dec;33(4):839-62, vi.

Finding truth from the medical literature: how to critically evaluate an article.

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Department of Family Medicine, The Ohio State University College of Medicine, 2231 North High Street, Room 203, Columbus, OH 43201, USA.


With Internet access available to all, patients are increasingly gaining access to medical information, and then looking to their primary care physician for interpretation. Physicians encounter an "information jungle"--there were 682,121 articles recorded in PubMed in 2005. If clinicians read two articles per day, in 1 year they would be over nine centuries behind in their reading! Although several excellent services that sift and critically assess medical literature are available to physicians, they are not helpful when a patient brings in the latest article. Physicians must have basic skills in judging the validity and clinical importance of these articles. This article provides an overview of a systematic, efficient, and effective approach to the critical review of original research.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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