Many of the orthopaedic studies completed within the military come from records-based research. This methodological article will assist researchers in completing such studies by highlighting the experiences and lessons learned from a recent retrospective study on amputees. Specifically, this article provides details on the various data sources available within the military, and how to access those systems, and offers general advice for the completion of retrospective studies using Department of Defense data systems. Although there are many obstacles that need to be overcome in order to successfully complete records-based research within the military, the authors hope this article will aid investigators in the completion of future projects.
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