A network for students interested in evidence-based health care

EBM Resources: How to read a paper

Posted on 29th April 2013 by

Learning Resources
how to read a paper

Evidence-based medicine relies on our ability to understand and interpret the data in front of us. On the BMJ [1] website, they have a collection of articles regarding various aspects of how to approach different types of paper, and some of the specific concerns of particular types of paper, such as reviews, clinical trials, and those with qualitative data. There are also two articles regarding statistics for the non-statistician. They may be 15 years old, but the core tenets are still valid – without knowing the date I would never have known their age.

These articles are excerpts from the book How to read a paper: the basics of evidence based medicine, a sixth edition of which was published in 2019 (edited January 2022). Each article might take 5-15 minutes to read and digest, and would be useful to anyone reading primary research papers, reviews, and meta-analyses.


http://www.bmj.com/about-bmj/resources-readers/publications/how-read-paper [2]


[1] BMJ home page [Internet]. BMJ Group; 2013 [cited 29 April 2013]. Available from: http://www.bmj.com/

[2] How to read a paper [Internet]. BMJ, BMJ Group; 2013 [cited 29 April 2013]. Available from: http://www.bmj.com/about-bmj/resources-readers/publications/how-read-paper


Alice Buchan

I'm Alice, a fifth year medical student at the University of Oxford. I did my 'intercalated year' focusing on immunology. At the moment, my particular interests are in immunology, reproductive biology, and obstetrics. View more posts from Alice

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