Critical appraisal is an essential and important step in the evidence-based practice (EBP) process. It involves analyzing and critiquing the methodology and data of published research studies (both quantitative and qualitative designs) to determine the value, reliability, trustworthiness, and relevance of those studies in answering a clinical question.
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Definitions of critical appraisal are provided below:
“Judging the quality of information in terms of its validity and degree of bias (quantitative research) and credibility and dependability (qualitative research). This is a critical step in the evidence-based practice process” (Hopp & Rittenmeyer, 2021, p. 360).
“During appraisal, the study design, how the research was conducted, and the data analysis are all scrutinized to ensure that the study was sound” (Schmidt & Brown, 2019, p. 405).
“Critical appraisal is an assessment of the benefits and strengths of research against its flaws and weaknesses” (Holly, Salmond, & Saimbert, 2012, p. 147).
Holly, C., Salmond, S.W., & Saimbert, M. (2012). Comprehensive systematic review for advanced nursing practice. New York: Springer.
Hopp, L., & Rittenmeyer, L. (2021). Introduction to evidence-based practice: A practical guide for nursing. Philadelphia: F.A. Davis.
Schmidt, N.A., & Brown, J.M. (2019). Evidence-based practice for nurses: Appraisal and application of research. Burlington, MA: Jones & Bartlett.
A variety of critical appraisal tools are available from different organizations to help guide you through the appraisal process.
The following links will connect you to these tools.
The Joanna Briggs Institute is a non-profit, international research and development organization for the promotion and implementation of evidence-based practice in healthcare. The JBI Critical Appraisal Checklists are utilized the world over by healthcare practitioners and researchers who conduct EBP. Learn more about JBI by visiting their website or watch the following video: