Article Requirement (1 Point)
Quality of Writing (5 Points)
A cover page is optional. A cover page and the literature cited section may be on additional pages beyond the five page limit. Scientific writing is concise and not flowery.
Introduction (4 Points)
Provide a sentence or two discussing the paper the focus of the paper. Why is this topic important?
Provide a few sentences about the disease / condition. Give basic information about the type of disease, diagnostic tests, common symptoms, common treatments, etc. This information provides the reader with knowledge that is needed to understand the rest of the paper.
Information could be incidence, prevalence, number of cases in the United States, or other relevant statistics. Is this a common disease / condition? Is it rare? You may find this information in your articles. See the question 19 box of the Tertiary Resources Assignment library guide for a list of resources that may be helpful to find this information: http://libraryguides.neomed.edu/aecontent.php?pid=656625&sid=5439505.
Provide a few sentence on the drugs. Discuss things like pharmacologic category, mechanism of action, indications, etc. How do the drugs differ from each other? If the two drugs belong to the same pharmacologic category, how do they differ from one another?
Provide a few sentences describing treatments. How do treatments differ from one another? If the comparison is usual care, what does this entail?
Research Article (14 Points)
What was the clinical question? What was the goal of the research study?
Provide a sentence or two on the hypothesis. What does the authors of the study predict that will be the results of the study? If a hypothesis is not given, can you infer what the hypothesis is? If yes, state your inferred hypothesis. If not, state that the authors did not provide a hypothesis.
What type of study is it? Is it a randomized control study or a cohort study? It is sometimes stated within the article and sometimes it is inferred.
See this article if you need help deciding the research design of your research article:
Discuss the type of blinding used (single, double, triple). Blinding is sometimes called masking in a study. Mention if there is no blinding, such as an open-label study. There is a type of blinding called a double dummy study. An explanation for double dummy studies can be found here.
How was the study funded? It could be governmental funding, funding from a pharmaceutical company, etc. Describe the funding source(s) and whether they are from an academia, governmental, a pharmaceutical company, a foundation, etc. Think about this funding source(s) when writing your discussion. Does the funding source introduce a source of bias?
What was the sample size? What population is this study targeting? Was the research conducted at one site or is it a multi-centered study?
Was the level of evidence for the article? Sometimes articles provide the information. Most of the time you will need to compare the article to one of the level of evidence scales: Oxford Centre for Evidence-based Medicine levels of evidence: https://www.cebm.net/2009/06/oxford-centre-evidence-based-medicine-levels-evidence-march-2009/ or the American Family Physician's Strength of Recommendation scale: http://www.aafp.org/journals/afp/authors/ebm-toolkit/strength.html.
Provide the inclusion and exclusion criteria. If either list is lengthy, provide the most important criteria and refer to the article for the rest of the list.
10. All primary outcomes and important secondary outcomes provided
List all primary outcomes from the research article. Include secondary outcomes too. If there are numerous secondary outcomes, list the most important secondary outcomes and refer to the article for the rest of the list. They may sometimes be called endpoints in the article.
11. Methods described
Describe briefly the general methods utilized by the study. Give a brief description of the procedures used in the study, dosages of drugs used, etc.
12. Results described
Summarize the results given in the research article. Summarize the results for all primary outcomes and important secondary outcomes.
13. Student listed statistical tests utilized in the study
List the statistical tests performed in the study. One or two sentences listing the statistical tests utilized in the study is all that is needed. You can also include statistical software applications if it is applicable.
14. Important statistical results discussed
Discuss the statistical results for all primary outcomes and important secondary outcomes. Provide p-values for statistically significant and non-significant results. Think about what the results mean to the study.
15. Possible author biases were considered.
16. Conclusions of authors summarized
Summarize the authors’ conclusions about the article. Your critique will begin in the discussion section.
Discussion (12 points: 2 points each)
Think about all aspects of the article. Would it be possible for you to repeat the experiment from the description in the article? Think about the individuals included or excluded from the study. The drug dosages used? Thinks about the questions being asked? Are the methods appropriate for answering those questions?
These are your thoughts about the strengths and weaknesses of the article. It should be more than just repeating the authors list of strengths and weaknesses. These are examples of discussion points about strengths and weaknesses of a research article:
What does this article add to our knowledge of medicine/pharmacy? Is this a new drug or treatment? Is it a new indication for a drug? Why was this study important? Did it bring new knowledge on a topic? How does this study affect patient care for clinicians?
Was the research article a POEM or a DOE? POEM stands for Patient Oriented Evidence that Matters and DOE stands for Disease Oriented Medicine. Studies are POEMS if their outcomes are focused on mortality, quality of life, mobility, etc. The outcomes for DOE studies focus on laboratory test results (cardiac biomarkers, blood pressure readings, LDL or HDL, bone density, BMI, etc.).
In some cases, a paper can be both a POEM and a DOE if there are multiple outcomes. In this case, explain how the study outcomes meet both criteria.
See one of the following resources if you need more information about POEMS and DOEs.
Frenz D, Beattie J. DOO, POO and you: getting on the same page as your patients. Today's Hospitalist [Internet]. 2014 Jul. Available from: http://www.todayshospitalist.com/index.php?b=articles_read&cnt=1901
Office of Medical Education Research and Development - Michigan State University
You can have a drug or treatment do well in a clinical trial but is slowly introduced into clinical care. Think about things like costs, adverse reactions, drug interactions, insurance coverage, etc. What other factors may influence whether a drug or treatment is incorporated into patient care? Could geography or transportation affect accessibility to a treatment or medication?
What should be the next steps in researching this drug/treatment/program? You can discuss future experiments that should be conducted. The author may discuss future experiments, programs, etc. that are planned in the future. If not, what research do you think needs to be conducted? Are there suggestions in other articles on the subject that discuss research trends? Give examples. Your response needs to be beyond the standard more research needs to be done on the topic. If your study was basic science research on a drug, think about the clinical trails that will need to be conducted before the drug is approved by the FDA.
Literature Cited Section (4 points: 2 points each)
Self-directed Learning (3 points):