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The Critical Appraisal Of The Literature

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The Critical Appraisal Of The Literature

The Critical Appraisal Of The Literature

Sports medicine, which has long been more of an art, is slowly becoming more of a science. However, few large, randomized, controlled trials provide evidence for many of the treatments used for sports injuries. A recent study attempted to examine the evidence base of sports medicine research. In evaluating four major journals that present core research in sport and exercise medicine, it was noted that randomized, controlled trials comprised 10% or less of all original research articles. Observational/descriptive studies were the most commonly published study design. When good quality research methods (randomized, controlled trials as well as case-control and cohort studies) were categorized together, the difference between sports journals and other medical journals was not significant (P = 0.09). This seems to indicate that the quality of sports medicine research is comparable to that in other specialities.2

Well-designed clinical decision rules such as the Ottawa knee and ankle rules are excellent examples of evidencebased medicine. Such rules begin with a derivation set (in these cases, indications for radiography) later confirmed in a prospective validation study.

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