What is critical appraisal?

Critical appraisal is the process of carefully and systematically assessing the outcome of scientific research (evidence) to judge its trustworthiness, value and relevance in a particular context. Critical appraisal looks at the way a study is conducted and examines factors such as internal validity, generalizability and relevance.

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Some initial appraisal questions you could ask are:

1. Is the evidence from a known, reputable source?

2. Has the evidence been evaluated in any way? If so, how and by whom?

3. How up-to-date is the evidence?

Second, you could look at the study itself and ask the following general appraisal questions:

1. How was the outcome measured?

2. Is that a reliable way to measure?

3. How large was the effect size?

4. What implications does the study have for your practice? Is it relevant?

5. Can the results be applied to your organization?


CAT Manager v2

If you would like to critically appraise a study, we strongly recommend using the app we have developped for Iphone and Android: CAT Manager App

You could also consider using the following appraisal questionnaires (checklists) for specific study designs, but we do not recommend this.


Appraisal of a meta-analysis or systematic review


Appraisal of a controlled study


Appraisal of a cohort or panel study


Appraisal of a case control study


Appraisal of a cross-sectional study (survey)


Appraisal of a qualitative study


Appraisal of a case study