Critical appraisal is the process of carefully and systematically examining research to judge its trustworthiness, and its value/relevance in a particular context by providing a framework to evaluate the research. During the critical appraisal process, researchers can:
Decide whether studies have been undertaken in a way that makes their findings reliable as well as valid and unbiased
Make sense of the results
Know what these results mean in the context of the decision they are making
Determine if the results are relevant to their patients/schoolwork/research
Burls, A. (2009). What is critical appraisal? In What Is This Series: Evidence-based medicine. Available online at What is Critical Appraisal?
Critical appraisal is included in the process of writing high quality reviews, like systematic and integrative reviews and for evaluating evidence from RCTs and other study designs. For more information on systematic reviews, check out our Systematic Review guide.