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Doody's Review ServiceReviewer: Donald R. Frey, MD (Creighton University Medical Center)
Description: This is a practical, "how to" manual for conducting effective research in general practice settings. It is part of the Oxford General Practice series, authored by U.K. general practitioners. The previous update was published in 1994.
Purpose: The purpose is to introduce basic research principles to practicing physicians. The authors designed this work as a basic research primer, and they lay the groundwork for research development in a variety of clinical settings. Considering that most research is generated in major university settings, the promotion of clinical investigation at the community level is particularly important.
Audience: The text is written primarily for practicing general practitioners. However, students and residents who have an interest in both research and community practice will find this text helpful in developing their careers. The authors, one a community general practitioner and the other a general practice academic, bring a wealth of experience to the text.
Features: The authors succinctly outline and reference the research process. Beginning with the basic concepts of how to ask clinical questions and continuing through study design and completion, they cover all aspects of successful research. Mathematical and statistical models, frequently a turn-off to practicing physicians, are discussed in a logical and user-friendly fashion. Tables, graphs, and illustrations are utilized to help cycle the reader into the world of research. However, a few more visual illustrations would have added to the readability of the text.
Assessment: Previous editions have proven to be true "research motivators" for many general practitioners in Great Britain. For those American family physicians with an interest in research, this short but very effective text will make an excellent launching pad for moving many practice-generated research questions from simple or abstract thoughts to published articles.