Evidence Based Practice

This guide is designed to provide information on what Evidence Based Practice is and how to find evidence.

What is critical appraisal?

Critical appraisal is "the process of assessing and interpreting evidence by systematically considering its validity, results and relevance" (Bandolier, 2007, para. 1).

Critical appraisal uses intrinsic (research design etc) not extrinsic (author, journal, institution) factors which is more commonly used in evaluating web sites.

When appraising an article, it needs to meet the following three requirements:

  • Quality (the methodology should include trials that are randomised and double blind to avoid selection and observer bias)
  • Validity (trials need to mimic clinical practice, or used in clinical practice, with outcomes that make sense)
  • Reliability (trials are credible and repeatable)

Another aspect to consider when appraising evidence is:  "How does this inform my practice?"

References
Bandolier. (2007). Critical appraisal
        http://www.bandolier.org.uk/booth/glossary/Critapp.html

Burls, A. (2009). What is critical appraisal? 
       http://www.bandolier.org.uk/painres/download/whatis/What_is_critical_appraisal.pdf

These videos will provide an introduction to the concept of critical appraisal.

Critical appraisal tools

There are a number of checklists / tools available on the Internet to assist you in undertaking critical appraisal of evidence. Some examples are listed below.