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Dissertation Subject Guide

including systematic reviews, literature reviews and scoping reviews

What is critical appraisal?

"Critical appraisal skills enable you to assess the trustworthiness, relevance and results of published papers so that you can decide if they are believable and useful."  


Critical appraisal tools/worksheets help you appraise the reliability, importance and applicability of clinical evidence.

Critical appraisal is the systematic evaluation of clinical research papers in order to establish:

  1. Does this study address a clearly focused question?
  2. Did the study use valid methods to address this question?
  3. Are the valid results of this study important?
  4. Are these valid, important results applicable to my patient or population?


Tod, D., Booth, A. and Smith, B. (2022) ‘Critical appraisal’. International Review of Sport and Exercise, 15 (1) doi:10.1080/1750984x.2021.1952471.


CASP - Critical Appraisal Skills Programme

This set of eight critical appraisal tools/worksheets are designed to be used when reading research. CASP has appraisal checklists designed for use with Systematic Reviews & Literature Reviews, Randomised Controlled Trials, Cohort Studies, Case Control Studies, Economic Evaluations, Diagnostic Studies, Qualitative studies and Clinical Prediction Rule.

JBI Critical Appraisal Tool

JBI's Critical Appraisal Tools downloads

JBI’s critical appraisal tools/worksheets help you assess the trustworthiness, relevance and results of published papers.

(often used when dissertation is a scoping review & you are required to do critical appraisal)

MMAT Appraisal Tool

Mixed Methods Appraisal Tool (MMAT)

MMAT is used for qualitative, quantitative, and/or mixed methods studies. Helpful for those working on a Mixed Methods Review

How to...critically appraise a RCT paper (using CASP)

Barts Health Knowledge and Library Services’ Assad Lahlou and Adam Tocock use the CASP Checklist to critically appraise the following paper: Uchio Y, Enomoto H, Alev L, Kato Y, Ishihara H, Tsuji T, Ochiai T, Konno S. A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled Phase III trial of duloxetine in Japanese patients with knee pain due to osteoarthritis. J Pain Res. 2018 Apr 18;11:809-821. (10 videos in total)