The CAT (Critically Appraised Topic) Manager App helps managers and consultants critically appraise the trustworthiness of scientific studies published in academic journals. Research findings are also reported on TV, in newspapers, and in magazines, but those sources often provide too limited information to critically appraise their trustworthiness.
In most cases, managers’ questions are about cause and effect, such as:
For this reason, the CAT Manager determines only a study’s trustworthiness regarding cause and effect questions.
The trustworthiness of a study is first determined by its methodological appropriateness: is the way the study is designed the best way to answer the study’s research question?
To determine a study’s methodological appropriateness to answer questions about cause and effect the CAT manager will ask 2 to 6 questions, which will take you about 5 to 10 minutes to answer. Possible outcomes of this first step are:
Very high (Level A+)
High (Level A)
Moderate (Level B)
Limited (Level C)
Low (Level D)
Very low (Level D-)
In addition, a study’s trustworthiness is also determined by its methodological quality: what are its strengths and weaknesses?
For practical reasons the number of appraisal questions is limited to four, which will take you about 15 to 30 minutes to answer. From a practical point of view these four questions cover the most important aspects that determine the methodological quality. However, from an academic point of view, these four questions may be too limited.
Based on the number of strengths and weaknesses the level of trustworthiness determined in step 1 may be upgraded or downgraded one or more levels.