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Use of the READER method of critical appraisal in general practice

BMJ 1998; 317 doi: (Published 19 September 1998) Cite this as: BMJ 1998;317:819

Study did not properly answer the questions it posed

  1. Johannes C van der Wouden, Research coordinator (
  1. Department of General Practice, Room Fe319, Erasmus University Rotterdam, PO Box 1738, 3000 DR Rotterdam, Netherlands
  2. Hillhead Family Practice, 33 Stewarts Road, Belfast BT11 9SZ

    EDITOR—Critical reading is becoming increasingly important in an era of abundance of information. MacAuley et al have undertaken an admirable job by studying one method of critical appraisal of medical literature.1 However, I do not think that their study properly answered the questions that it posed.

    The apparent strength of this READER method is its simplicity. The method has several drawbacks, however. Items are not independent. When relevance is absent in the eye of the reader, little energy will be invested in assessing the methodological qualities of the paper.

    Serious problems arise in the “discriminative” component of the checklist. Here we …

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