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Last year, Archives of Disease in Childhood introduced a new section entitled “Archimedes”. Its purpose is “to assist practising clinicians by providing `evidence based' answers to common questions which are not at the forefront of research but are at the core of practice”.1 Archimedes is actively looking for paediatricians to submit their efforts at finding answers to these questions.
In October 2001, five SpRs and four community paediatricians on the MMedSc in Child Health at the University of Leeds decided to take up the challenge. Each undertook to tackle one question of either general or community paediatric interest that had arisen recently in the course of their clinical practice. In accordance with the principles of evidence based practise,2 they pursued the evidence, critically appraised it, and presented it to their colleagues. Table 1 shows the results of their endeavours.
Nine paediatricians took an average of 5.4 hours each in their attempt to track down an answer to an important clinical question they had; this does not take into account the time taken to appraise the …
Conflict of interest: the author of this commentary is the section editor of Archimedes and is also a student on the MMedSci course run by the author of the main paper.