A University of Massachusetts Medical School text on biases.Key Concepts addressed:
- 1-7 Beware of conflicting interests
- 2-5 People should not know which treatment they get
- 2-9 Reviews of fair comparisons should be systematic
- 2-13 Relative measures of effects can be misleading
One factor that often leads to interference with the truth in the medical literature is bias. It can be very difficult if not impossible to remove bias from the picture. This is one of the strengths of the systematic review – the detailed criteria that authors of systematic reviews must follow help to eliminate as much bias as possible. But, if you know what types of bias are lurking in the literature, you will be able to better understand how they might affect the results of outcomes data you
are reading. Then, you can use your skills as a manager of knowledge to compensate as best as you can.