Evaluating Medical Studies (cont.)
I think that the lay press does the public a disservice by reporting studies uncritically or at least not providing the information the reader needs to critically review the study. Sometimes, the press will seek an independent comment from an expert in the area of the study. Often enough, however, the comment is general and does not deal with the quality of the study. This principle of critical evaluation (peer review) is so important that the first-tier journals that have already accepted a study for publication often will ask an expert who has not seen the study before (i.e., a third reviewer, if you will) to comment on the study. The journal will then publish the comment along with the study as an editorial.
Last Editorial Review: 10/24/2006