FAQs about Medical Literature

What to get from the “methods” section of the article

The methods section holds the answers to possible bias, number of participants, and general performance of the research. Key items to appreciate are what kind of study was done and how many participants were involved. Were they followed for days, months or years, and did the item being studied warrant a different followup period? Sometimes the statistics used have to be examined, and I think that the more confusing the discussion about the statistics, the less impact the result will have because it takes a lot of math to show a minimal result, but very little math to show a clear result. You should also pay close attention to how people were screened, selected and rejected from the study – a lot of things that you might find important can be discarded in order to simplify the outcome or to prove a point that could not be proved if everyone were included. On the other hand, if the author uses no statistics at all and simply states that the numbers support the idea, then the proof has not really been given.

Posted in: Medical Literature

Comments are closed.