Information Fluency

What is critical appraisal?

It is important to note that not all articles you find in PubMed or any other database may be relevant to your topic or of good quality. You must appraise the literature to determine its relevance and the quality of the evidence presented. 

Critical appraisal is the process of assessing the validity, reliability, and relevance of published evidence. It provides a systematic and objective way of examining the evidence used for decision-making. Some questions you can ask yourself when assessing the literature include:

  • Does this study address a clearly focused question? Why was it done?
  • Did the study use valid methods to address this question? (trustworthiness)
  • Are the results of this study significant and related to the original research question? Are all the results discussed? (value)
  • Are these valid, important results applicable to my patient or population? (relevance)

Based on CEBM's Critical Appraisal Tools

Several critical appraisal tools and worksheets are available below to help guide you. This will be further discussed in your Epidemiology class. 

Critical Appraisal Tools