Once you have asked the clinical question and searched for evidence, the next step of EBP is to critically appraise the evidence you have found. This is a really important process because it ensures that studies with scientific flaws are disregarded, and the ones you include are relevant to your question.
In the Evidence-Based Practice process, and especially in the process of evaluating primary research (which hasn't be pre-appraised or filtered by others), we need to go beyond the usual general information evaluation and make sure the evidence we are using is scientifically rigorous. The main questions to address are:
Fortunately, there have been some great checklist tools developed for different types of studies. Here are some examples:
Critical appraisal tools from the NHS in Scotland links interactively to all sorts of resources on how to identify the study type and build your critical appraisal skills, as well as to tools themselves.
A useful series of articles for nurses about critiquing and understanding types of research has been published in the Australian Journal of Advanced Nursing by Rebecca Ingham-Broomfield, from the University of New South Wales:
Ingham-Broomfield, R. (2014). A nurses' guide to the critical reading of research. Australian Journal of Advanced Nursing, 32(1), 37-44.
[Updated from 2008.]
Ingham-Broomfield, R. (2014). A nurses' guide to quantitative research. Australian Journal of Advanced Nursing, 32(2), 32-38.
Ingham-Broomfield, R. (2015). A nurses' guide to qualitative research. Australian Journal of Advanced Nursing, 32(3), 34-40.
Ingham-Broomfield, R. (2016). A nurses' guide to mixed methods research. Australian Journal of Advanced Nursing, 33(4), 46-52.
Ingham-Broomfield, R. (2016). A nurses' guide to the hierarchy of research designs and evidence. The Australian Journal of Advanced Nursing, 33(3), 38-43.
Introduction to Critical Appraisal - This short video from the library at the University of Sheffield in the UK looks at the background to critical appraisal, what it is, and why we do it. A very useful introduction to the topic.