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June 10, 1983

A Realistic Journal Reading Plan: Quality as Well as Quantity

Author Affiliations

University of Kentucky College of Medicine Lexington

JAMA. 1983;249(22):3019. doi:10.1001/jama.1983.03330460019022

To the Editor.—  As medical educators constantly deluged with reading material, we frequently also act as "literature consultants" to our house staff and students. We therefore applaud the efforts of Dr Scheckler in his recent article in The Journal (1982;248:1987). Our communication is not meant to take issue with any of his practical suggestions but is intended to add the following comments.

  1. 1. It has been amply demonstrated that even the "best" of journals all too often include serious methodological and statistical flaws.1,2 One therefore has to be wary of drawing conclusions based on such data.

  2. 2. The idea of reading critically and "in depth" those articles that potentially will modify the way in which one approaches or treats a problem must be stressed.

  3. 3. "In-depth" reading requires reading with a critical eye, not simply the assumption that the conclusions given are valid because they are in a respected journal.