Recommended Reading For Chiropractors

June 4, 2009 at 3:46 pm (Alternative Medicine, Books, Chiropractic) (, , , , , , )

Having corresponded with both the BCA and Bassett Chiropractic Clinics – and received a data dump of some of Tedd Koren’s work in the comments section of a recent post – I am beginning to get a feel for how well chiropractors understand research. I post here some suggested reading for chiropractors in the hope that they may improve their skills and become better at appraising scientific evidence*.

1. How to critically appraise an article (Jane M Young and Michael J Solomon). (How to evaluate study design and assess methodology – tells you the key points to consider when reading an article.)

2. How to Read a Paper (Trisha Greenhalgh).,M1 (Ronseal – this book does exactly what it says on the tin.)

3. Evidence-Based Medicine – what it is and what it isn’t (David L Sackett, William M C Rosenberg, J A Muir Gray, R Brian Haynes, W Scott Richardson) (It’s about integrating individual clinical expertise and the best external evidence – e.g., systematic reviews.)

4. Bad Science (Ben Goldacre) (I would definitely recommend this book for anyone who has a poor understanding of the very nature of evidence.)

5. Irrationality (Stuart Sutherland) (From an Amazon review: “no matter how rational you think you are, I guarantee you will be surprised at some of the errors you unwittingly make”.)

6. On Bullshit (Harry G Frankfurt) (From Wikipedia: “Frankfurt sketches a theory of bullshit, defining the concept and analyzing its applications.”)

7. Trick or Treatment (Edzard Ernst and Simon Singh) (You chiropractors may be familiar with this book, but I suggest that once you have read my recommendations 1-6 above, that you revisit this book and reread the chapter on chiropractic in particular.)

*As Kruger and Dunning pointed out in their classic 1999 paper Unskilled and Unaware of It: How Difficulties in Recognizing One’s Own Incompetence Lead to Inflated Self-Assessments, “people who are unskilled […] suffer a dual burden: Not only do these people reach erroneous conclusions and make unfortunate choices, but their incompetence robs them of the metacognitive ability to realize it.”

I believe that it is our duty to assist the chiropractic community in recognizing their incompetence and in improving their skills – and thus relieve them of this dual burden they carry.


  1. Gonzo said,

    Hahahaha! Funny post!
    I’m thinking of buying book Nr 6.

  2. jdc325 said,

    Hello Gonzo Girl, and thanks for your comment.

    I’ve got a bunch of chiropractors following me on twitter and all my blog posts are automatically fed through to twitter so they will hopefully have seen a post titled “recommended reading for chiropractors” and clicked the linky. Now that really would amuse me.

    Harry G Frankfurt is a professor emeritus of philosophy and writes the way I’d expect a philosophy prof to – but I think that makes it more amusing to read somehow. A learned essay on bullshit just seems slightly odd to me but I really enjoyed reading it. There’s a brief review of it on UWM’s Leader Website “Though a small book with a charming title, On Bullshit is dense reading-an exercise in logic and mental stamina. Frankfurt distinguishes between bullshit and outright lying thusly: “the essence of bullshit is not that it is false, but that it is phony.” In other words, the difference lies not in the product, but rather the process […]”

  3. Martineau chiropractic to check with the BCA « A canna’ change the laws of physics said,

    […] here and finally here), an incapacity nonetheless.  I would also recommend jdc’s helpful article “Recommended Reading For Chiropractors” to any Chiropractors who may be reading […]

  4. Chiropractic Refusal to Engage « jdc325’s Weblog said,

    […] it is likely an honest incapacity (he has also very kindly linked to my posts on the BCA and my recommended reading for chiropractors). Possibly related posts: (automatically generated)Bassett Chiropractic: Follow-UpBassett […]

  5. alanhenness said,

    The book, “How to Read a Paper”, is winging its way to me from a well-known online supplier…Thanks for the recommendation!

  6. Incompetence and The General Chiropractic Council « jdc325's Weblog said,

    […] reading for chiropractors: my blog post; recommendation number 3 of which may be particularly useful for the GCC: Evidence based medicine: […]

  7. Chiropractic “For Sceptics Only” Pages « Stuff And Nonsense said,

    […] Misinterpreting the Evidence, and Mistaken Connections in Medicine. I have previously provided recommended reading for chiropractors and included Sutherland’s book in my suggestions. Here are some “morals” […]

  8. Simon Singh and the British Chiropractic Association « Stuff And Nonsense said,

    […] chiropractic-based blog posts include my recommended reading for chiropractors, my opinions on the General Chiropractic Council, and a post titled last of the summer whine […]

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