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Birds feed their young by bringing back a tasty morsel like a worm or by swallowing and pre-digesting the food into a nutritious pap. Both have the objective of ensuring that the chick survives and grows and develops to fend for itself.

Bandolier aims to bring its readers both tasty morsels and pre-digested evidence. The evidence is sometimes positive, but occasionally negative. This issue contains a number of good solid negative pieces of evidence, which are often the most difficult to have published. Archie Cochrane wrote that evidence from randomised controlled trials would result in "a marked reduction in the use of ineffective remedies and of effective remedies used ineffectively."

Bandolier also hopes to do more to help its readers develop techniques for them to become more critical and therefore better informed practitioners of evidence-based health care.

To be a lifelong learner requires the ability to learn the SAS techniques - searching, appraising and storing. In Bandolier we concentrate on appraisal techniques, either by showing examples of good appraisal articles or, in the Mindstretcher series, by concentrating on articles on methodology. Desert Island Texts, the first of which appears in this edition of Bandolier , is also focused on methodology of appraisal through highlighting landmark articles.

We will also carry articles on searching techniques and working with librarians, for modern librarians are the professional searchers, and on storing, giving advice on techniques that could be used to store references. We will be unashamedly advocating electronic storage systems because that is the only way practitioners of evidence-based health care can keep on top of the evidence base.

SAS methods will permeate Bandolier for the next year and we welcome articles from readers on these topics. We also welcome contributions to Desert Island Texts, and we will be awarding authors of published contributions a copy of the beautifully produced BMJ edition of Archie Cochrane's classic on effectiveness and efficiency.

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