Critical appraisal is an integral step in Evidence Based Practice. Critical appraisal aims to identify methodological flaws in research and provide consumers of research with the opportunity to make informed decisions about the quality of research evidence.
Critical appraisal is a systematic process of analysing research to assess methods, validity and usefulness.
The key questions in critical appraisal are:
Why was the study done?
What type of study was done?
What are the study characteristics?
|P||Patient/Population? How were participants recruited/selected?|
|I||What intervention/test is being studied?|
|C||Is the intervention/test being compared to no intervention, placebo, another treatment?|
|O||What outcomes are being assessed - objective/subjective/surrogate? Secondary outcomes?|
What was done to address bias?
What are the results and are the results valid?
What conclusions can you make?
These can be downloaded and used to assess the applicability, reliability and validity of published research.
Critical Appraisal Skills Programme: CASP Critical Appraisal Checklists.
Centre for Evidence-Based Medicine: CEBM Criticial Appraisal Worksheets.
University of South Australia list of Critical Appraisal Tools organised by research method.
Centre for Evidence-Based Medince: CEBM Statistics Calculator.
Number Needed to Treat (NNT) Calculator.
You do not always need to do critical appraisal yourself. These quality filtered resources provide structured abstracts and expert commentary of individual studies.
1. Voutier, C. (2013). Critical appraisal. Evidence Direct: A Service of the RMH Health Sciences Library. Retrieved 4 July 2014 from: http://library.mh.org.au/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=272&Itemid=537