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Systematic reviews always includes a process of critical appraisal of the articles chosen for analysis. In this step, the researcher assesses the quality of a study in terms of bias, study design, conduct and data analysis.
This aims to answer these questions:
How useful is this study
What are the relative strengths and weaknesses of the study
Are the findings valid?
How can these results be used to answer my question or need?
The Centre for Evidence-Based Medicine in Oxford (UK) provides tools and downloads for the critical appraisal of medical evidence. Sample appraisal sheets are provided together with several helpful examples.
The Effective Public Health Practice Project developed the EPHPP Quality Assessment Method and Tool for quantitative studies method. The tool was developed for use in public health, and can be applied to articles of any public health topic area.
The Institute of Health Economics, Alberta, Canada have developed and implemented two scoring systems to evaluate the quality of the studies potentially eligible for inclusion in reviews: one for quantitative research reports, and one for qualitative research reports.