A proposal for more informative abstracts of clinical articles. Ad Hoc Working Group for Critical Appraisal of the Medical Literature.
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Medical journals are a principal source of new knowledge for clinicians. Unfortunately, articles containing valid and valuable information are often buried among others of less value. Innovations are needed to assist clinicians in finding articles that are both scientifically sound and applicable to their practices. An easily implemented, although partial, solution is for authors of articles that have clinical implications to structure their abstracts so that key aspects of purpose, methods, and results are reported with a partly controlled vocabulary and in a standardized format. This would assist clinical readers to select appropriate articles more quickly, allow more precise computerized literature searches, and facilitate peer review before publication.
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