People often ask me where they can find useful tools and resources for critical appraisal. The majority of the resources are on the CATNiP wiki but below is a selection of the ones I have found I cannot do without!
If you are going to but only one book on critical appraisal, either for yourself or your library collection, then buy this one:
- Gosall N. and Gosall G. (2012). The Doctor’s guide to critical appraisal. (3rd edn.). Knutsford: PasTest.
I cannot recommend it highly enough. The book covers an introduction to research designs, bias and statistics in an ‘easy-to-understand’ manner. There are lots of examples which self-test questions thrown in to assess your understanding.
If you’re looking for one on statistics then try:
- Walker J. and Almond P. (2010). Interpreting statistical findings. A guide for health professionals and students. Maidenhead: Open University Press.
Lots of examples covering basic to more complicated statistics in health research.
For guided critical appraisal examples of published research papers take a look at:
- Bowers D., House A., and Owens D. (2006). Understanding Clinical Papers. Chichester: Wiley.
For a lighter read, but informative for critical appraisal nonetheless, try Ben Goldacre’s books:
- Goldacre B. (2012). Bad Pharma. How drug companies mislead doctors and harm patients. London: Forth Estate.
- Goldacre B. (2009). Bad Science. London: Harper Perennial.
Critical appraisal tools/checklists
The following is not an exhaustive list, by any means, but a good starting point in signposting to questions to ask when assessing the quality of research papers.
- CASP Tools
- Centre for Evidence Based Medicine
- Users’ guides to the medical literature : a manual for evidence-based clinical practice
- The pocket guide to critical appraisal
- How to read a paper
- Cochrane Collaboration Risk of Bias Tool for RCTs
- Glasgow University
- SIGN 50 Checklists
Aintree Library & Information Resource Centre