Objective: In a busy practice, time is a commodity in rare supply, and keeping abreast of the relevant medical literature is a daunting task. Even after reading an article carefully, important information may be lost because of undue attention to the methodological minutia. Method: Fundamental to reducing a complex article into a well-organized and consistent format is the technique of quantitatively diagramming the principal components in the design and findings of the study. This approach allows a coherent brief summary statement of the article, and a platform for a focused scientific discussion and analysis of the clinical applicability of the findings. Conclusions: The technique of diagramming an article is a tool that the senior author has used for years and has found it valuable in capturing the scientific fundamentals of a manuscript. Once prepared, the diagram has proven to be useful in clarifying presentations during journal club, preparing the background and significance sections of grant applications, reviewing articles as a journal editor and as a journal reviewer, and easily retrieving documents to support evidence-based practice efforts.
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