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." (Burls and Brice, n.d.)

A critical skill for evidence-based research and practice, we have offered training sessions to some of our external contract users in conjunction with University academics. Sessions will be tailored to the requirements of individual groups, so if you are one of our contract users and interested in critical appraisal training please get in touch to discuss.

Online training resources

"Finding and appraising the evidence" by Amanda Burls and Anne Brice is a comprehensive online guide to the topic that builds on material developed by the Critical Appraisal Skills Programme (CASP), which itself is another excellent resource. There is a more concise publication available from the Medical Sciences Division in the University of Oxford, written by Amanda Burls (director of CASP at the time).

With CASP, do note the checklists available to help you with the critical appraisal of certain types of information, e.g. systematic reviews, randomised controlled trials etc.

NHS Choices have an article available on the critical appraisal of health-related news.

Finally, Healthcare Improvement Scotland produced another useful online course in critical appraisal, and to watch a researcher carrying out a critical appraisal of a journal article, watch the video above, produced by the ScHARR library at Sheffield University.