Research papers are a powerful means through which millions of researchers around the globe pass on knowledge about our world.
However, the quality of research can be highly variable. To avoid being misled, it is vital to perform critical appraisals of research studies to assess the validity, results and relevance of the published research. Critical appraisal skills are essential to be able to identify whether published research provides results that can be used as evidence to help improve your practice.
Most of us know not to believe everything we read in the newspaper or on various media channels. But when it comes to research literature and journals, they must be critically appraised due to the nature of the context. In order for us to trust research papers, we want to be safe in the knowledge that they have been efficiently and professionally checked to confirm what they are saying. This is where a critical appraisal comes in.
Critical appraisal is the process of carefully and systematically examining research to judge its trustworthiness, value and relevance in a particular context. We have put together a more detailed page to explain what critical appraisal is to give you more information.
Critical appraisal skills are important as they enable you to systematically and objectively assess the trustworthiness, relevance and results of published papers. When a research article is published, who wrote it should not be an indication of its trustworthiness and relevance.
Performing a critical appraisal helps to:
There are some key questions to consider when critically appraising a paper. These include:
CASP has several checklists to help with performing a critical appraisal which we believe are crucial because:
In addition to our free checklists, CASP has developed a number of valuable online e-learning modules designed to increase your knowledge and confidence in conducting a critical appraisal.
This Module covers the following:
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