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Critical Appraisal

The following information is designed to help you make sense of critical appraisal with links for further reading:

Critical Appraisal

Critical Appraisal

Critical appraisal is the process of systematically examining research evidence to assess its validity, results and relevance before using it to inform a decision.

Critical appraisal is an essential part of evidence based practice. It is a process which helps practitioners decide whether a piece of research is good enough to be used in decision making. It is about evaluating the whole research process, rather than looking just at the results. 

To help you undertake critical appraisal, several user-friendly tools are available. These are usually in the form of checklists and many of them are freely available online. These checklists assist you in asking appropriate questions when reading a paper and help you to maintain an objective view of the research.

We have compiled the below list of resources including checklists and e-learning modules that may be useful to you.

 

How to read a paper 

On this page you will find links to articles in the BMJ that explain how to read and interpret different kinds of research papers

CASP

CASP

CASP offers critical appraisal skills training, workshops and tools. These help you read and check health research for trustworthiness, results & relevance.

 

CASP checklists

This set of eight critical appraisal tools are designed to be used when reading research, these include tools for Systematic Reviews, Randomised Controlled Trials, Cohort Studies, Case Control Studies, Economic Evaluations, Diagnostic Studies, Qualitative studies and Clinical Prediction Rule.

These are free to download and can be used by anyone under the Creative Commons License.

Learning resources

Finding and Appraising the Evidence –

E-learning modules

These modules take you through the process of how to find the evidence and then how to assess the validity and reliability of the published research in order to provide effective and efficient healthcare. 

 

Centre for Evidence-Based Medicine Critical Appraisal worksheets

A useful website for the CEBM that includes a critical appraisal section. This section contains useful tools and downloads for the critical appraisal of different types of medical evidence. Example appraisal sheets are provided together with several helpful examples.

 

Best Bets Critical Appraisal Worksheets

Best evidence topics critical appraisal worksheets.

 

Birmingham Critical Appraisal Skills Programme Crib sheets

Crib-sheets are core questions that aid you to critically appraise a research paper. The cribsheets include a number of italicised prompts after each question to remind you why the question is important.

 

SIGN Critical Appraisal Notes and Checklists

Scottish Intercollegiate Guidelines Network (SIGN) methodology checklists.

Understanding Health Research - A tool for making sense of health studies

This tool will guide you through a series of questions to help you to review and interpret a published health research paper.