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Health services research methods
  1. ANDREW HART, Consultant Physician
  1. Norfolk and Norwich NHS Trust, Brunswick Road, Norwich NR1 3SR, UK

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    Health services research methods, N Black, J Brazier, F Fitzpatrick, B Reeves, eds, pp xii + 268. BMJ Books, London, 1998. £30 (£28 to BMA members), paperback. ISBN 1 85996 271 8. ★★★★

    This book provides a detailed description and assessment of all aspects of health services research. The first two sections describe how health and disease can be measured and the types of study designs available to test new interventions and technologies. Examples of topics included are disease-specific measurement scores, quality-of-life measures, the merits of both randomised and non-randomised trials as well as their ethical and social issues. The book continues by giving an overview of statistical approaches and how data should be presented and interpreted. Examples include the Bayesian approach and survival data. The final section discusses future developments including how to identify new technologies and their implementation. The research structure within the NHS is also described.

    This is an excellent book which is clearly written and covers all the disciplines within the field. The principles outlined are complemented by many examples from clinical practice. The chapters are well illustrated with summary boxes and relevant diagrams. Each chapter is written by a group of authors who are all leaders in their area. This book will be invaluable to those new to the field who wish to gain an overview as well as to the more experienced worker wishing to gain more detailed information on a particular area. I am sure this book is going to become the definitive text in its field.