Views & Reviews Medical Classics

How to Read a Paper: The Basics of Evidence-Based Medicine

BMJ 2008; 336 doi: (Published 12 June 2008) Cite this as: BMJ 2008;336:1381
  1. David Warriner, F2 student (general practice), Derwent Surgery, Malton, North Yorkshire
  1. orange_cyclist{at}

Now in its third edition, this respected book guides the reader through medical research and the jungle of jargon it comprises. The subject matter is divided into types of research, literature searches, presenting and analysing data, and publication and appraisal of research. Its definitions are superb, and it clearly delineates between commonly confused topics such as reliability and validity, systematic reviews and meta-analyses, and protocol and guidelines.

In the 12 years since the book’s inception evidence based medicine has evolved from illegitimacy to prodigy, thanks to champions such as David Sackett, Brian Haines, and Greenhalgh herself. They encourage clinicians to formulate the right question with three specific …

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