How to Read Research Articles

Do you ever feel like you are stuck in a rut, doing the same exercises and manual techniques with every person?  If you have been reading this website, my books or journal articles, or have seen me present at meetings, you know one thing I do is pride myself in is being up to date in current research.  I stay on top of all the research because I am always trying to get better.  If there is one thing I get complimented on the most, is that my teachings are up-to-date and everything I do is backed by research.  I don’t mind saying this hear to the 1000’s of people that will read this, but staying on top of the research is one of my “secrets” that has helped me become one of the “experts” in our fields (and I use that term loosely…).

I’ve written about how I think that implementing evidence based medicine into your practice doesn’t have to be that hard, and I truly believe this, but I still receive feedback from people that reading research articles is overwhelming.  Furthermore, many people still comment to me that they find it difficult to read journal articles and determine the quality of the study and if it has any clinical implications to us.  Honestly, that is part of why I started this website, to help with this exact problem.

Set Yourself Apart

I’ve said it over and over again but we need to be integrating current research into our evidence based practices.  This is what sets you apart from everyone else in our fields and what produces amazing outcomes.


How to Read Research Articles

Since the beginning of this website, I have always wanted to write a guide of some sorts on how to read and interpret research.  Luckily I never did get around to this as Mark Young has just recently released a new product called How to Read Fitness Research, and there is no way I would have made a product as good as Mark’s!  Rehab specialists, don’t let “Fitness” in the title make you think you won’t benefit, this applies to all research.   I haven’t talked to Mark yet, but I actually want to include some of his info in my online CEU programs.

I was lucky enough to receive a copy of the program and I must say Mark has paid great attention to detail and has come up with a program to help us all get more out of research!  Mark has taken a pretty important, yet boring, topic and made it really simple and easy to understand things such as:

  • Learn where research comes from
  • Discover who pays for research and why it matters
  • Find out where to get research
  • Know which journals to read and which are a waste of time
  • Stop being confused with statistics and research jargon
  • Learn to apply research to your programs for INCREDIBLE results


How to Read Research


Here is a little preview of part of the program where Mark talks about some tips on staying on how he stays on top of the research, which is exactly what I do as well:


As you can see, it offers some value.  Don’t get me wrong, if you just recently graduated and have gone through a ton of research design courses, this probably isn’t to the level of detail that you are going to need this product, but for the majority of us, it is a pretty good review.

There is one thing I would add to the program for physical therapists, athletic trainers, and other rehabilitation specialists.  Mark talks about what journals he recommends you staying on top of for fitness specialists, I would add a few more:

  • JOSPT – Journal of Orthopedic Sports and Physical Therapy – the cream of the crop for ortho and sports PT journals.  Pretty technical but still quality.  The best reason to join the APTA and sports or ortho sections.
  • AJSM – American Journal of Sports Medicine – another elite journal, geared more towards ortho and sports physicians and surgeons and a gold mine of information for us too.
  • Sports Health – A fairly new journal designed for us all – docs, PT’s, ATC’s, fitnes specialists, etc. A little less technical (which is often good), but great.
  • JAT – Journal of Athletic Training – Official journal of the NATA and always has some good content.  Similar to JOSPT, likely the best benefit of joining the NATA.
  • JBMT – Journal of Bodywork and Movement Therapies – For those of us that enjoy different approaches, manual therapy, and expanding outside of the typical American thought process.  Edited by Leon Chaitow, you’ll enjoy the content.  As a side note, I believe that this is where Tom Myer’s Anatomy Trains concept really took a jump start.


Click here to find out more about How to Read Fitness Research

Updated 1/2016



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