What is Critical Appraisal?

Critical Appraisal is the process of carefully and systematically examining research to judge its trustworthiness, and its value and relevance in a particular context. It is an essential skill for evidence-based medicine because it allows people to find and use research evidence reliably and efficiently. All of us would like to enjoy the best possible health we can. To achieve this, we need reliable information about what might harm or help us when we make healthcare decisions.

Why is Critical Appraisal important?

Critical appraisal skills are important as they enable you to assess systematically the trustworthiness, relevance and results of published papers. Where an article is published, or who wrote it should not be an indication of its trustworthiness and relevance.

Aren’t we already doing it?

To some extent, the answer to this question is “yes”. Evidence-based journals can give us reliable, relevant summaries of recent research; guidelines, protocols, and pathways can synthesise the best evidence and present it in the context of a clinical problem. However, we still need to be able to assess research quality to be able to adapt what we read to what we do.

There are still significant gaps in access to evidence.

The main issues we need to address are:

  • Skills in assessing the quality of evidence
  • Integrating the evidence with clinical expertise and patient values in shared decision-making
  • The time it takes to get hold of evidence-based information

Health and Social Care provision must be based on sound decisions.

In order to make well-informed and sensible choices, we need evidence that is rigorous in methodology and robust in findings.

Ready to Learn more?

At CASP we offer a range of training courses and workshops which are perfect to help you learn more about critical appraisal, when and how to perform one, and the different approaches and methodologies.


Need more information?

If you have a general query about the Critical Appraisal Skills Programme, or would like to book on to a workshop please get in touch.
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