Critical appraisal

During my work at Bupa as a Health Editor and my postgraduate studies, I’ve come across some really useful websites and articles all about how to read journal papers and critically appraise them. I thought I would share some of them here.

The first is an article in the journal Nature entitled ‘How to critically appraise a paper.’ It’s written for Clinicians, however the basic principles are the same and it’s come in very handy when looking at sport science journal articles.

A great resource is a series of articles from the British Medical Journal that introduce non-experts to finding medical articles and assessing their value. You can find them here:

The CASP UK website has some good resources for making sense of evidence and several downloads for critical appraisal.

Finally, the Centre for Evidence Based Medicine has a number of useful tools and downloads for critical appraisal of journal articles. There is an article that gives basic information about the background to study design.  There are also some really useful critical appraisal sheets that are written for each type of study design. I will be using these for my critical appraisal of the journal club articles.

A tip that I have been given recently by a Surgeon who I work with, is to read the results section of the article first instead of reading it front to back. This really helps to get a grasp of what the study found and helps you think about the methodology before you read what the researchers actually did.

Do you have any useful tips or information that can help with critical appraisal and reading a journal article?



Filed under Critical appraisal

10 responses to “Critical appraisal

  1. Mac-Nutrition

    Great advice on reading the results first… the conclusion of a paper doesn’t always accurately portray what was found.

    Another tip is to find out who funded the study and if there is any agenda behind it…

  2. Yes that’s a great tip, always a good thing to look out for when reading a paper!

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