According to Amanda Burls, Director of the Critical Appraisal Skills Programme, Director of Postgraduate Programmes in Evidence-Based Health Care, University of Oxford, « critical appraisal is the process of carefully and systematically examining research to judge its trustworthiness, and its value and relevance in a particular context. »
Critical appraisal is an essential skill for evidence-based medicine and allows clinicians to find and use research evidence reliably and efficiently.
In our daily practice, we are confronted, sometimes several times a day, with problems, be they diagnostic or therapeutic, or concerning pre or intraoperative, and postoperative care.
To do the best for our patients, we have to apply what has been shown to be the most effective. To accomplish this we need the most reliable information to make the most appropriate healthcare decisions.
Clinical research involves gathering data, then collating and analyzing them to produce meaningful information. However, not all research is good quality and many studies are biased and their results, doubtful and may lead to draw false conclusions. As such, they should not be applied blindly.
The goal of critical appraisal is therefore to determine whether the research has been done properly and that the information it contains is reliable and trustworthy, whether the results are applicable to the patients we have to treat (external validity), and in the particular context we treat them.
Further explanations on Critical Appraisal may be found at www.whatisseries.co.uk