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Value of Critical Appraisal
Critical appraisal explores the quality and reporting of clinical practice guidelines, observational studies, RCTs, systematic reviews, and meta-analyses.
The use of critical appraisal tools requires more than simply checking off a box on a checklist! Critical appraisal requires that you have the skills to:
- Critically evaluate a paper, such as a cohort study
- Determine if a study's methodology is valid
- Determine if a study's valid results are important and applicable to your patient/population
- Observe the presence of bias and determine what this means
You can then apply the above skills to the critical appraisal tools highlighted on this page. Each of these critical appraisal tools is freely available online.
Randomized Controlled Trials (RCTs)
Systematic Reviews & Meta-Analyses
In your work, you will encounter many types of information, such as journal articles, books, and websites, and knowing how to evaluate information is key!
The RADAR Test is a common tool used to evaluate sources in a more general way by considering: relevance, authority, date, accuracy, and reason for writing.
Clinical Practice Guidelines (CPGs)
AGREE II-GRS Instrument
A 5 item rating scale used to evaluate the quality and reporting of clinical practice guidelines. While the AGREE II remains the recommended appraisal tool for clinical practice guidelines, the AGREE II-GRS Instrument is a practical alternative, especially when time and resources are limited
This tool consists of 23 items organized within 6 domains followed by 2 global rating items (“Overall Assessment”) to assess the quality of a clinical practice guideline.
Other Quality Assessment Checklists
Checklists for evaluating systematic reviews & meta-analyses; randomized controlled trials; cohort studies; case-control studies.
Dartmouth Biomedical Libraries - Evidence-based medicine worksheets
Appraisal checklists for randomized controlled trials, systematic reviews, etc.
Duke University Medical Center Library & Archives - Appraisal checklists
Appraisal checklists for systematic reviews, randomized controlled trials, practice guidelines, economic analysis.
Joanna Briggs Critical Appraisal Tools
Checklists for systematic reviews, randomized controlled trials, qualitative research, cohort studies, case-control studies, case reports, etc.