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Critical appraisal tools and checklists provide a systematic approach to the appraisal process. They prompt the reader to inquire about specific aspects of the study they are evaluating.

Which checklist should I use?

There are many different critical appraisal checklists. Choose the one that best fits the study design you are appraising. The list below includes widely accepted tools of typical study designs, disciplines and other forms of evidence used in health research and clinical practice. 
 

Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses
Clinical practice guidelines
  • AGREE II instrument
    The Appraisal of Guidelines for Research and Evaluation (AGREE) Instrument evaluates the process of practice guideline development and the quality of reporting. Comprises 23 items across 6 quality domains.
     
Randomised Controlled Trials (RCT)
  • Cochrane Risk of Bias (ROB) 2.0
    Templates are tailored to randomized parallel-group trials, cluster-randomized trials and cross-over trials. 
  • Jadad Scale
    Simple tool to appraise based on only three domains: random assignment, double blinding, and patient withdrawal/dropout.
  • PEDro Scale
    Developed by Physiotherapy Evidence Database for assessing clinical trials across various fields of study (not just physio).
  • CASP RCT Standard Checklist
    Critical Appraisal Skills Program (CASP) contains tools for a wide variety of study designs. In pdf, word or online versions. 
  • JBI RCT Critical Appraisal Tool
    Joanna Briggs Institute (JBI) contains tools for a very wide variety of study designs. 
  • CEBM RCT Critical Appraisal Sheet
    Centre for Evidence Based Medicine (CEBM) contains tools for a wide variety of study designs in a range of languages. 
  • SIGN RCT Checklist
    Scottish Intercollegiate Guidelines Network (SIGN) contains tools for a variety of study designs.
     
Cohort studies
Case Control Studies
Cross-sectional studies 
  • STROBE Cross-Sectional Studies Checklists
    Reporting of observational studies in epidemiology. Includes a specific cross-sectional study checklist & a combined cohort, case-control, and cross-sectional studies checklist.
     
Case Series and Case Reports
Mixed Methods 
  • EPHPP tool for quantitative studies
    Designed to appraise observational studies (mixed designs). Developed by the Effective Public Healthcare Panacea Project Canada.
  • Mixed Method Appraisal Tool (MMAT)
    Designed for the appraisal stage of systematic mixed studies reviews that include qualitative, quantitative and mixed methods studies.
  • PROTECT Checklist
    Risk of bias checklist applicable to randomized trials, observational studies, and systematic reviews. Developed and validated to be used for systematic reviews focusing on drug adverse events.
     
Diagnostic studies
Prognostic studies 
Qualitative studies
Economic Evaluation

 

Grey Literature - government, industry, business, thesis, conference papers etc.
  • AACODS Checklist
    Designed by Flinders Uni for appraisal across six domains: authority, accuracy, coverage, objectivity, date and significance.
  • STROBE Conference Abstracts Checklists
    Reporting observational studies in a conference abstract. Also checklists for cohort, case-control, and cross-sectional studies. 
     
Critical Appraisal Tool Repositories

These repositories contain additional critical appraisal tools and checklist that may be suited to your needs:

  • Latitude
    Validity assessment tools specifically for evidence synthesis. Search for a tool by study design. 
  • SR Toolkit
    Select the quality assessment checkbox to load 70 appraisal tools. The toolkit can also be used for searching, screening, citation management & data synthesis tools.  
  • JBI (Joanna Briggs Institute)
    Contains 15 critical appraisal tools of typical study designs as well as prevalence studies, quasi- experimental, expert opinion, policy etc. 
  • CASP (Critical Appraisal Skills Program)
    Contains typical study designs with the addition of a Clinical Prediction Rule checklist.
  • CEMB (Centre for Evidence Based Medicine)
    Contains typical study designs with the addition of a IDP (Individual Patient Data) review checklist. Tools translated across seven languages.
  • BMJ Critical Appraisal Guidance
    Offers some information and guidance on tricky critical appraisal scenarios such as multiple armed RCTs, diagnostic studies and multiple SR on the same question. 

 

Critical appraisal webinar: How to evaluate a research paper

The Library runs a regular live webinar, How to evaluate a research paper, which takes you through the process of quickly and systematically evaluating the quality and relevance of research evidence. Learn how to:

  • Identify different types of research studies
  • Search for bias
  • Understand outcomes

Check the Library webinar calendar for the next session date.

Webinar calendar


Library research support

Monash Health employees can request various forms of research support depending on the purpose of your research. Our research support includes: 

  • Research consultations
  • Literature search service
  • Literature review report service
  • Feedback on your literature search strategy
  • Co-authorship for systematic reviews and other evidence synthesis projects

Complete this online form to request research support and learn more about each service offered.

Request research support

Click here for an overview of Library research support services.

Overview of Library research support


Research Toolkit

Visit the Research Toolkit to access resources and guidance for every stage of the research process, from planning through to publishing and promoting your findings.

Research Toolkit

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