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Evidence-Based Public Health: Evaluating Research

Evaluating Research

Tools for Evaluating Literature

Choosing Which Papers To Appraise

Once you have found an article, examine the quality of the material.  Here are some things to consider when getting started with appraising.

  • Relevance
    • What clinical question were the authors addressing?
  • Validity
    • What were the results?
  • Usefulness
    • Can you apply this evidence to your patient?

Appraising Your Chosen Article

Find the following:

  • What journal published the study?
  • Who are the authors?
  • What are their affiliations?
  • Who funded the study?
  • Check the first Table. Is it self-explanatory? Relevant?
  • Look at the methodology and study design. This is the most important- if the study design is flawed, the analysis doesn't matter. Look for the following:
    • Population
    • Type of study
    • Unit of observation
    • Measuring techniques
    • Sample Size
  • Review the results/discussion including:
    • Implication- Do the results indicate changing practice? Raise further questions? Are they in accord with other work? Are they plausible?
    • Limitations of the study
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