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Book Forum: CLINICAL TOPICS   |    
An Introduction to Clinical Research in Psychiatry
SAMUEL B. GUZE, M.D.
Am J Psychiatry 1999;156:1109-1109.
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by Dan G. Blazer, M.D., Ph.D., Judith C. Hays, R.N., Ph.D. New York, Oxford University Press, 1998, 227$39.95.

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This is a straightforward textbook to help beginners think through what is possible in a clinical research project. The chapters deal with "Causal Inference," "Reviewing a Published Study," "Learning the Language of Clinical Research," "Single-Subject Design," "Descriptive Studies," "Community-Based Cross-Sectional Studies," "Longitudinal Studies," "Case-Control Studies," "Clinical Trials," "Diagnostic Tests and Screening Instruments," "Population Genetics Studies," and "Analysis of Clinical Community Research and Data." The authors provide thoughtful and experienced comments on all of these subjects, and their text should be of particular help to beginners. The authors focus primarily on "clinical research in which the patient (or subject) is the unit of analysis" (p. viii).

The book is clear and easy to read. It calls the beginner’s attention to the most frequent and important questions that must be addressed in planning or evaluating a clinical research report. The first two chapters, "Causal Inference" and "Reviewing a Published Study," are particularly helpful and set the stage for the rest of the monograph. An Introduction to Clinical Research in Psychiatry is a book to recommend to a wide audience of beginning investigators and, especially, to the supervisors and directors of such inexperienced investigators. It is hard to imagine that reading this monograph would not prove useful to a very broad range of beginning investigators and their supervisors.

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