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Doing research: evaluating the evidence

The following links can help you to evaluate evidence and critically apppraise material.

Critical appraisal resources

Critical appraisal is the systematic assessment of the trustworthiness, relevance and results of published papers in order to decide if findings are believable and useful in a specific context.

The CSP has further information on critical appraisal and the links below look at particular aspects.

Searching and appraising the literature

Peace A. Chapter 1.3: Searching and appraising the literature. In:
Moore A, Lyon P (ed.). Getting involved in research: a pocket guide. Chartered Society of Physiotherapy, National Physiotherapy Research Network, 2009.

Searching and appraising the literature

Critical Appraisal Skills Programme (CASP)

CASP provides resources and learning and development opportunities to support critical appraisal skills development in the UK.

The website has eight critical appraisal tools which are free to download.

Critical Appraisal Skills Programme

How to search and critically evaluate research literature

Hewitt M, revised Keen C. How to search and critically evaluate research literature. NHS National Institute for Health Research, Research Design Service EM/YH; 2007, last updated 2009.

How to search and critically evaluate research literature

Evidence-based Medicine Toolkit

A collection of online tools for identifying, assessing and applying the evidence, hosted on the University of Alberta (Canada) website.

Evidence-based Medicine Toolkit

How to read a paper

Greenhalgh P. How to read a paper. BMJ; 1997. Includes:

Getting your bearings (deciding what the paper is about). BMJ 1997;315:243
Getting your bearings

Assessing the methodological quality of published papers. BMJ 1997;315:305
Assessing the methodological quality of published papers

Statistics for the non-statistician I: Different types of data need different statistical tests. BMJ 1997;315:364
Statistics for the non-statistician I

Statistics for the non-statistician II: “Significant” relations and their pitfalls. BMJ 1997;315:422
Statistics for the non-statistician II

Research reporting

Guidelines on reporting research are a useful resource for assessing the quality of research as well as how it is reported.

Enhancing the quality and transparency of health research (EQUATOR)

The EQUATOR network is a resource centre for good reporting of health research studies. It has comprehensive resources on research reporting and peer review.

EQUATOR resources

The following guidelines and standards can be accessed through the EQUATOR network:

  • Statement on the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA)
  • Consolidated Standards of Reporting Trials (CONSORT)
  • Consolidated criteria for reporting qualitative research (COREQ)
  • Standards for Quality Improvement Reporting Excellence (SQUIRE)
  • Consolidated Health Economic Evaluation Reporting Standards (CHEERS)
  • Consensus-based Clinical Case Reporting Guideline Development (CARE)
  • Statistical Analyses and Methods in the Published Literature Guidelines (SAMPL)


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