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How to pick apart a journal article

Discussion in 'Pharmacy' started by pharm B, May 4, 2012.

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  1. pharm B

    pharm B Phar Noir Moderator Emeritus Gold Donor

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    Hey everyone. Do you know of a good book that describes how best to analyze articles published in medical journals? We just took a Drug Literature course, but I feel like I got lost in the herd, so I was hoping to work on this over the summer.

    Any feedback is appreciated.
  2. joetrisman

    joetrisman

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    I'd like to give credit to whoever posted this here, but honestly I forget who it was. I got a 98 or something when I did a journal club for a class last.

    Attached Files:

  3. naseuy

    naseuy

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    Pharmacist's Letter has a good review and checklist.
  4. rxlea

    rxlea Unicorn in training Moderator Emeritus

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    There are a couple of tools out there you can use. PRISMA guidelines are pretty standard. I have a tool created by one of my awesome mentors/faculty in my Phd program(faculty routinely tell her to publish it because it's that good). It has a point based system. I can send a copy if you'd like.
    Last edited: May 4, 2012
  5. cycloketocaine

    cycloketocaine

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    Reviewing articles critically is best mastered with lots of practice. I blew away Drug Lit, but I still couldn't do a good journal club until I did a lot of them. Work with preceptors to improve your skills.
  6. lactonerx

    lactonerx

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    Users Guide to the Medical Literature by Guyatt et al
  7. owlegrad

    owlegrad Uncontrollable Sarcasm Machine Staff Member Administrator SDN Senior Moderator

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    What doesn't pharmacist letter have?
  8. Ackj

    Ackj

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    I think the thing that makes a journal club/lit review really great is kind of an outside the box application of the conclusion. Hard to say exactly what to do for each article, but there's a few things to look at. Maybe start with the population. Is that the population you'd really be using the drug/therapy on, or not? For example you're probably not giving IV abx for CAP with low CURB, they'll get oral therapy and go home. Also look at inclusion/exclusions; are they purposely excluding a patient population that would often receive this kind of care, or are they reasonable exclusions? Then look at the actual interventions. Are the patients getting the standard of care in either the active or control group? Is the comparator dosed appropriately? If not, that could be a huge factor and really skew the results. It takes a pretty thorough knowledge of the topic at hand to do this sort of thing, so it will definitely take lots of time to develop.
  9. SpirivaSunrise

    SpirivaSunrise Go Gators! Lifetime Donor

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    And I would have to pass along said credit to my Research Design & Stats prof. ;)

    Seven years ago...good grief time flies! :eek:
  10. pharm B

    pharm B Phar Noir Moderator Emeritus Gold Donor

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    Thanks!

    I would. :)

    Yeah, I'm hoping to do that this summer. My internship involves pharmacy grand rounds every Friday, and I'm sure I'll be presenting at least once.

    Trust me, I know. :smuggrin:
  11. PharMed2016

    PharMed2016 Eternal Scholar

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    Studying a study and testing a test: how to read medical evidence
    by Richard K. Riegelman

    It goes through how to apply the MAARIE framework to whatever type of journal article/study your looking at. Enjoy.
  12. xiphoid2010

    xiphoid2010

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    and this is why research experience is important to so many settings. Once you know it and have done it, it's just common sense or a question of "what I would done".

    And to students, know your statistics. If your school doesn't require it, take it as an elective.
  13. pharm B

    pharm B Phar Noir Moderator Emeritus Gold Donor

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    Haha, took it in undergrad and in pharmacy school, but never had a good experience. I knew I kept that textbook for a reason. ;)
  14. WVUPharm2007

    WVUPharm2007 "I hear the WMD is the bomb."

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    If I could do it all over again, I'd chose studies my preceptors helped author and pick them apart in front of them.

    I'd imagine that would be entertaining. An entire avenue of self amusement I never thought to explore.
  15. rxlea

    rxlea Unicorn in training Moderator Emeritus

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    You just gave me a fantastic idea. Thanks Mikey.
  16. Roto

    Roto aka "Farmer"

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    Thank you for posting the PDF checklist!
  17. gadlo

    gadlo

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    When I am looking over a journal article, I ask myself a bunch of questions about their work.

    What is the hypothesis that they are testing? Are their methods appropriate for testing their hypothesis? Do their results support or disprove the hypothesis? Do the results of their experiment justify their conclusions? Are their conclusions consistent with the results? Are their conclusions overreaching?

    This is the basic gist of critiquing a journal article. Ask a lot of questions about the hypothesis, the methods, the results, and their conclusions.

    Keep in mind that a scientific article is a persuasive piece. The authors are trying to persuade you that their question is important, the methods are adequate, and their conclusions are justified by the results. None of these things are a given just because it got published. A lot of garbage gets published.

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