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. Amanda Burls, What is Critical Appraisal?, Feb 2009

This page includes some useful resources to get you started with critical appraisal, or further reading if you have already attended training in the Warner Library.


“An Introduction to Critical Appraisal” will help you understand how to critically appraise a randomised Controlled Trial (RCT). Using the CASP Checklist the course covers samples and sample size, randomisation, bias, statistics, significance (P Values and Confidence Intervals) and relevance.

Training can also be arranged for departments,  teams or journal clubs. The research paper used for the appraisal can then be chosen to match the teams speciality.

Contact the Warner Library to arrange a date.

Journal Articles for An Introduction to Critical Appraisal:

If you are attending the course in the Warner Library Deborah will advise you which of the following papers to read and bring with you. Click on the title to access the paper. Login with your NHS Athens account when prompted. If you haven’t got an NHS Athens account find out more here.

1. Impact of oral dexamethasone versus placebo after ED treatment of migraine with phenothiazines on the rate of recurrent headache: a randomised controlled trial.

Kelly AM et al. Emergency Medicine Journal, Jan 2008 25(1): 26-9

2. Tonsillectomy versus watchful waiting in recurrent strepococcal pharyngitis in adults: randomised controlled trial

Alho, OP et al. BMJ May 2007 334(7600): 939

Resources & Reading

CASP (Critical Appraisal Skills Programme) Checklists – appraisal checklists for RCTs, Systematic reviews, Cohort studies, Economic evaluations, Case control studies, Diagnostic test studies, and Qualitative research.

Deborah’s Critical Appraisal Reading List

Centre for Evidence Based Medicine – details on workshops, plus plenty of resources

Finding and Appraising the Evidence – Online Tutorial on Critical Appraisal from Healthknowledge

Twitter Journal Club follow on Twitter!/twitjournalclub

Numbers Needed to Treat 

Wiki Journal Club

Testing Treatments

  1. Zena
    March 30, 2011 at 9:08 am

    Congratulations, Deborah – excellent stuff! Now let’s see this used, rather than Wikipedia…

  1. October 13, 2011 at 10:50 am

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