Background. Critical reading is an important skill for those trying to practice evidence-based medicine. There are a number of recognized structures for critical reading, including the READER model. These methods should be subjected to high-quality studies. Objectives. We aimed to evaluate the READER method in a practical teaching setting using the highest quality research methodology. Methods. We carried out a modified randomized controlled trial. Two groups of GP trainers were invited to appraise critically the two articles using either the READER acronym or a semistructured free appraisal. Results. Of 99 participants in the! workshop, 92 completed the study. One-third of participants (33.7%) read more than five articles per month and those who had been in practice the longest read fewer articles (P < 0.05). Both groups attributed the lowest score to paper 2. The median total scores were higher using the READER method, although only significant for paper 2 (P< 0.05). The median score attributed to the methodology was lower using the READER method than the free appraisal, although this difference was only significant for paper 1 (P< 0.05). Overall, 51% (70% of the READER group) believed that taking part in the exercise would encourage them to be more critical of published articles in the future. Conclusion. Those using the READER method attributed a higher total score, but were more critical of the methodology than those using a free appraisal. Participants found the study useful and believed that it would be of help in future critical appraisal. The study raises interesting questions about the relative importance to GPs of methodological rigour compared with other factors when evaluating research papers.
|Publication status||Published (in print/issue) - Feb 1999|