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Searching for your literature review: Appraise


Critical appraisal or assessment of the literature is essential to deciding what information to pay attention to and what to disregard.

You may decide to do this in:

  • An informal non-structured way, where you critically review as you read and make judgements
  • A formal structured way, where you use a checklist or critical appraisal tool as a guide

The approach you take depends on your needs at the time.

Adapted from International Centre for Allied Health Evidence, UniSA.


General checklists

How to read a paper

Critical Appraisal tools

"Critical Appraisal Tools are structured checklists that allow you to check the methodological quality of a study against a set criteria. An advantage of using a CAT is that you can apply a level of consistency when reviewing a number of studies. However a potential disadvantage is that they may not ask about a potential source of bias that is important for the specific research questions being asked."

-- International Centre for Allied Health Evidence, UniSA

Critical appraisal tools are often used within medicine and health sciences to assess evidence but they can also be used in other disciplines. What critical appraisal tool you use depends on the study type you are looking at.

Some examples:

For more help see:

Software to help you appraise

The Library subscribes to software that you may find useful when you screen and appraise literature.

Learn more:

Heading: EndNote

Heading: Covidence