Pears, R & Shields, G (2005).
Cite them right: The essential guide to referencing and plagiarism
Pear Tree Books
Greenhalgh T. (2001) How to Read a Paper: The Basics of Evidence Based Medicine. 2nd ed. London: BMJ.
Evans, Thornton and Chalmers (2006) Testing Treatments: Better Research for Better Healthcare, British Library.
Levitt, S and Dubner, S (2005) Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything. Penguin.
Testing Treatments: Better Research for Better Healthcare is a very fine book. It takes on the difficult task of explaining how medical research is, or should be, evaluated. And it achieves this in a way which is accessible to the lay reader.
“How do we know whether a particular drug, therapy or operation really works, and how well? How reliable is the evidence? Are clinical trials truly unbiased? And is current research focused on the real needs of patients? Such timely and pressing questions are raised and addressed in this probing enquiry into modern clinical research, with far-reaching implications for daily medical pactice and patient care.”
Even better, the authors have made the book available for download under a Creative Commons licence. You can download the book from here.
All students should read Chapter 3 in preparation for Week 3. Download the extract chapter-3-testing-treatments.
How to Read a Paper: The Basics of Evidence Based Medicine. 2nd ed. London: BMJ, 2001 by Trish Greenhalgh. The current, 3rd edition is available from bookshops and is a standard text for medical students.
Her writing is a model of clear exposition. Two chapters are especially relevant and available online from the BMJ website. The lectures will provide commentary and guidance, but study of these chapters is well worth your reading time.
Getting your bearings (deciding what the paper is about)
BMJ 1997; 315(7102): 243-246. [Full-text]
Papers that go beyond numbers (qualitative research)
Greenhalgh T, Taylor R.
BMJ 1997; 315(7110): 740-743. [Full-text]