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Tools for Evaluating Literature
Appraising Evidence- Duke University Medical Center Library
This is a list of worksheets available to help evaluate the literature you find in your searches. Choose the one that best fits your research needs.
Provided by the Centre for Evidence-Based Medicine, CATmaker is a software tool which helps you create Critically Appraised Topics, or CATs, for the key articles you encounter about Therapy, Diagnosis, Prognosis, Aetiology/Harm and Systematic Reviews of Therapy.
Critical Appraisal Sheets
These tools and downloads for the critical appraisal of medical evidence are provided by the Centre for Evidence-Based Medicine.
These EBM calculators are provided by the Centre for Evidence-Based Medicine.
Study type decision tree
From Grimes D. & Schulz K. (2002). An overview of clinical research: The lay of the land. The Lancet, 359(9300), 57-61.
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.
- What clinical question were the authors addressing?
- 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:
- 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