critical appraisal

Last reviewed 01/2018

When critically appraising a study then consider:

  1. what is the research question - for most studies there should be a single sentence describing why the study was done and what hypothesis the authors were testing
  2. the type of study design used
  3. the study population investigated
  4. comparator drugs and doses studied
  5. sample size and power used in the study
  6. primary versus secondary endpoints and subgroup analysis
  7. duration of the study
  8. study follow-up
  9. is there a sponsorship or publication bias
  10. other considerations
    1. intention to treat analysis
    2. what p-values are used
    3. what confidence intervals are used
    4. comparing statistical and clinical significance of results
    5. analysis of results e.g absolute risks, relative risks, odds ratios, hazard ratios, numbers needed to treat, numbers needed to harm, Kaplan-Meier survival curves, simple statistical test

These points are expanded upon in the linked items below.