‘how’ to use different appraisal tools to evaluate the quality of evidence


This topic focuses on ‘how’ to use different appraisal tools to evaluate the quality of evidence.

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It will build on what you have learned in previous topics to assist you to be able to apply critical appraisal tools to evaluate the quality of evidence presented in published literature.

Topic Objectives

On completion of this topic students will be able to:

  • Understand what critical appraisal of literature involves and why it is important.
  • Identify tools for critically appraising qualitative and quantitative research.
  • Appreciate why different tools are required to critically appraise qualitative and quantitative research.
  • Apply relevant tools to critically appraise qualitative and quantitative research.


The ability to use best available research evidence to inform clinical practice is a core competency for registered nurses and midwives. However, before you can apply the evidence presented in that literature, you need to be able to appraise or evaluate the quality of that evidence. This is where critical appraisal of literature comes in.

So far in your studies, you have learned how to use critical thinking to inform your clinical practice. In some courses you have also been required to critically analyse a topic or question. Each of these activities has required you to evaluate different kinds of data or information in some way. In this topic, you will begin to develop the skills to critically evaluate published research.

What is the Critical Appraisal of Literature?

How to read a research article

Before you can appraise an article you need to thoroughly read it an understand it.

The primary reason why clinicians read research articles is to determine whether the results will be useful to clinical practice.

There are several different reading strategies espoused in the literature and most suggest a systematic approach.
The following powerpoint gives you step-by-step instructions on the process of how to read a paper.

Read Powerpoint :research_art_critique_new

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