Critical appraisal of literature

What is critical appraisal?

“A process of carefully and systematically examining research to judge its trustworthiness, value, and relevance in a particular context” [1] .

Just because a study is the 'best' type of study for the clinical question, you cannot necessarily be confident of the study conclusions. Critical appraisal is the process of systematically examining research evidence to assess its validity, results, and relevance before using it to inform a decision.

If you have been fortunate enough to find a recent systematic review of evidence from a reliable source to answer your clinical question you will not have to undertake the process of critical appraisal. However, if you have found one or two individual studies you will need to assess the quality of the evidence to decide whether you wish to apply the evidence in practice.