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Critical Appraisal

Information and resources on how to assess the quality and relevance of articles


There are numerous tools to assist in evaluating the quality of published research.

  • Checklists and tools provide ways to assess the methodological rigour of a paper, ie how well the research was conducted.
  • Reporting standards allow assessment of how well the research was reported, ie does the paper describe the research well enough that you can have confidence in it?

Read papers with a view to how well they meet these standards, assessing both conduct and reporting.


Checklists & tools 

Critical Appraisal Study Programme (CASP) – Free checklists for RCT's, systematic reviews, qualitative research, cohort studies, diagnostic studies, case control studies, economic evaluations and clinical prediction rules 

Oxford Centre for Evidence-Based Medicine (CEBM) - Critical Appraisal Tools. A variety of resources, including sheets on Systematic Reviews, Diagnostics, Prognosis, RCT’s and  Qualitative Studies, also available in Chinese, German, Portugese, Spanish and Persian.

Joanna Briggs Institute  - Critical Appraisal Tools. Free checklists and notes from a leading authority on using evidence to support decision making. Also includes checklists for case reports, case series, quasi-experimental studies and text and opinion pieces.

University of South Australia, International Centre for Allied Health Evidenceappraisal tools 

Grey Literature - The ACCODS checklist provides five criteria for judging the quality of grey information (Authority, Accuracy, Coverage, Objectivity, Date, Significance).

The following tools are endorsed by the Cochrane Bias Methods Group:

RoB 2 tool - A revised Cochrane risk of bias tool for randomized trials.

Article: Using Risk of Bias 2 to assess results from randomised controlled trials: guidance from Cochrane. BMJ Evidence-Based Medicine. 2023.

RoB 2 for crossover trials

ROBINS-I tool (Risk Of Bias In Non-randomized Studies - of Interventions). More information here.

robvis - a web app designed to for visualizing risk-of-bias assessments performed as part of a systematic review.

Newcastle-Ottawa Scale (NOS) for assessing the quality of nonrandomised studies in meta-analyses

AMSTAR 2 -  for assessing the quality of systematic reviews. Includes reviews of both randomised and non-randomised studies.


Reporting Statements

CONSORT (Consolidated Standards of Reporting Trials) is an evidence-based, minimum set of recommendations for reporting randomized trials. Includes  flowchart and checklist.

STROBE (STrengthening the Reporting of OBservational studies in Epidemiology) recommendations for cohort, case control and cross sectional studies. Available in languages other than English.

The SPIRIT Statement - an international standard for trial protocols. Available in languages other than English.

PRISMA (Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses) recommendations for systematic reviews and meta-analyses.

EQUATOR (Enhancing the QUAlity and Transparency Of health Research)  - a collection of reporting guidelines and other tools to promote good practice in research.