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Critical appraisal tools

Critical appraisal tools (checklists) are often used to help assess the rigour or quality of studies. There are a wide range of these in both the health and library fields. Some cover different study designs, others are generic (all types of research) and others focus on topic areas e.g. information skills or library user studies.

A useful set of health related checklists is the one available from the University of Glasgow (Department of General Practice and Primary Care)

Useful LIS related checklists can be found in the EBLIP toolkit, available from Gosford Library, Australia

Issues to consider when using checklists are covered in Andrew Booth's critique

Booth A. Who will appraise the appraisers?-The paper, the instrument and the user. Health Information and Libraries Journal 2007; 24(1): 72-76.

Read the following evidence summary of qualitative research, and identify where credibility, transparency and confirmability are considered.

Wilson V. User studies differ across some disciplines and may not be very effective. Evidence Based Library and Information Practice 2007; 2(3) Available from URL

Now read an evidence summary of quantitative research and identify where validity, reliability and generalisability are considered.

Brown ML. Interactive, web-based information skills tutorial well received by graduate students in health and social care research. Evidence Based Library and Information Practice 2007; 2(1) Available from URL