Intended for healthcare professionals


Research methods and reporting

BMJ 2008; 337 doi: (Published 22 October 2008) Cite this as: BMJ 2008;337:a2201
  1. Trish Groves, deputy editor
  1. 1BMJ, London WC1H 9JR
  1. tgroves{at}

    A new section of the BMJ about how to do and write up research

    Nearly 15 years ago Doug Altman, the BMJ’s senior statistical adviser and professor of medical statistics, asked in this journal, “What should we think about researchers who use the wrong techniques (either wilfully or in ignorance), use the right techniques wrongly, misinterpret their results, report their results selectively, cite the literature selectively, and draw unjustified conclusions? We should be appalled. Yet numerous studies of the medical literature, in both general and specialist journals, have shown that all of the above phenomena are common.”1

    Things may have improved somewhat since then, but we still have much to do. Like most other medical journal editors, we at the BMJ continue to be dismayed by submissions that describe poorly conducted studies and by reports of apparently adequate studies that are so incomplete and confusingly written that they are impossible to appraise. Many of these unsatisfactory articles come from well resourced countries, …

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