Document Type



Community Health Sciences


Doctors read literature to keep abreast of medical advances. A recommendation from the 1993 World Summit for Medical Education is that medical schools should teach medical students to critically appraise scientific reports. The Department of Community Health Sciences of Aga Khan University Medical College teaches basic research methods to medical students. This is now supplemented with "Critical Reading". Critical reading was first taught to 67 third year students between October, 1993 and May, 1994. A "validity check-list for critical readers" was introduced in a two week orientation consisting of three one-hour classroom sessions and four one-hour small group sessions. Thereafter, small groups met monthly to critique clinical epidemiological reports relevant to current organ system teaching. The students reading attitudes and critical appraisal skills were assessed through continuous assessment and a written final examination with questionnaire. All but three students passed the final examination (mean score (74%, standard deviation 12%). Sixty-four of 67 (96%) completed questionnaires. All (73% strongly) agreed that critical reading skills were essential, but only 30% strongly agreed that they had, indeed, mastered the skills. Ninety-seven percent (56% strongly) disagreed that year three was too early to start critical reading. Clinical teaching staff expressed interest in learning these skills. Students benefited from and enjoyed this first critical reading course. It strengthened ties between clinical and community health sciences teaching staff. The critical reading skills of the clinical teaching staff is being addressed in seminars to strengthen institutional research capacity.

Publication (Name of Journal)

Journal of Pakistan Medical Association