The primary impetus for the Critical Assessment Skills Programme (CASP) was the Getting Research into Practice Project in the 1980s, which was a response to clinicians using interventions that were either contradicted or not supported by evidence. This project identified a lack of appreciation among managers and policy makers for the importance of using research evidence to inform decisions, which led to the development of educational workshops to address this need. These workshops soon developed into CASP.
The CASP workshops, which started in 1993, were initially geared toward simply raising awareness of the need for evidence in practice. However, they have evolved to focus on the importance of systematic reviews in evidence- based practice, characteristics of a high-quality review, interpretation of results, and how to locate systematic reviews efficiently. The key theme participants walk away with is that systematic reviews are decision- makers’ best resource for research evidence, and other forms of evidence should only be used in the absence of a high-quality systematic review.
By using its cascade approach, CASP now has branches all over the world. In total, the network of CASP groups has trained tens of thousands of participants in how to do critical appraisal and related skills.
CASPin grew out of the work of the critical appraisal Skills Programme in Oxford, (known as CASP UK within the network), this work began in 1993 to help health care decisions makers understand scientific evidence.
Similar critical appraisal programmes started in; Spain (CASPe) in 1997 and further networks developed in Romania, Hungary, Japan, Poland, India and Norway. Many members of the network have organised critical appraisal workshops in about 30 other countries, particularly in South America and Central and Eastern Europe.
The first CASP International Training week was held in London, England on 5-9 July 1999. The meeting was attended by over 20 delegates from 11 countries.
There is no central group regulating the activities of CASP International Network members. Each is an autonomous entity, and each collaborates with the others.
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