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From The CriticsReviewer: Kenneth Bush, MPT, PhD (Pacific University)
Description: This book is designed to help clinicians and students critically evaluate research relating to clinical practice. There are specific chapters and checklists for evaluating outcome measures, treatment effectiveness, economic evaluation, and meta-analysis.
Purpose: The purpose is to help students and clinicians understand the basics of research so they can evaluate research properly. The authors make a strong case for the importance of clinical research that is not currently being used. They have created a reasonably good introductory text to begin the process of critical evaluation of research literature.
Audience: The text is designed for the student and clinician in allied health fields. It is appropriately focused for the clinician who already has a basic understanding of the research process and its pitfalls. The authors are both experienced clinicians and researchers who know and understand the field.
Features: An overview of research design serves as an introduction, and then the authors move to the topic of conducting a review of research literature. In Chapter 2 they describe the options for conducting a literature review in the area of allied health topics. In the main portion of the book (Chapters 3-7) they detail systematic approaches to evaluating different types of research. An appendix contains checklists to help the reader evaluate the quality of different types of clinical research literature. Disappointingly, the coverage of material in Chapter 1 is too broard and rather superficial, and the information presented in Chapters 8 and 9 is only mildly related to the purpose of the book.
Assessment: This book is a good starting point for someone who has no experience but an interest in improving their critical reading of research literature. However, the shallow coverage in Chapter 1 makes it difficult to use this book as a text for a research course. Chapter 2 would be beneficial as a supplement to a more substantial text on research design such as Portney's Foundations of Clinical Research: Applications to Practice, 2nd Edition (Prentice Hall, 2000). For the practicing clinician, however, this would be a very good book because it is easy to read and has a structured approach and checklists to guide the evaluation of research studies.