What is Critical Appraisal?
Once you have asked the clinical question and searched for evidence, you need to appraise the evidence in order to:
There are a number of tools and checklists that are available (and free) to help with critical appraisal. Please note that, just as the type of question being asked (therapy, aetiology, diagnosis etc) might determine the type of study or research (RCT, case study, cohort study etc) being used or sought, the type of study or research might in turn determine the process of critical appraisal.
(For example, Straus, Glasziou, Richardson & Haynes, in their book Evidence-Based Medicine: How to practice and teach it, devote whole chapters to critical appraisal of each of therapy, diagnosis and screening, prognosis, and harm articles.)
For this reason, there are different checklists available for the different types of research. See the page in this guide on Critical appraisal tools.
This section includes pages on:
Straus, S. E., Glasziou, P., Richardson, W. S., & Haynes, R. B. (2011). Evidence-Based Medicine: How to practice and teach it (4th ed.). Edinburgh: Churchill Livingstone/Elsevier.