Psychiatrists and other physicians sometimes read publications superficially, relying excessively on abstracts. The authors addressed this problem by teaching critical appraisal of individual articles.
The authors developed a 23-item appraisal instrument to assess articles in the area of psychopharmacology. The results were collected with an electronic voting system. A discussion of each of the item followed; tutors shared their views and provided key ratings.
Six publications were evaluated in the course of three workshops by a total of 58 trainees. Evaluation of the papers yielded varying results, reflecting variations of the participants' theoretical background as well as varied quality of the publications. The authors present detailed analysis of one paper as an illustrative example.
The discussion format and voting stimulated active participation of the trainees. Active involvement, facilitated by the structured assessment tool, followed by feedback with discussion, may enhance the learning process.