Evidence Based Practice

This guide is designed to provide information on what Evidence Based Practice (EBP) 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).

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

Critical appraisal uses intrinsic (research design etc.) not extrinsic (author, journal, institution) factors. You'll need to consider the following when appraising an article:

  • Did the literature you found include randomised and double-blind trials to avoid selection bias and observer bias?
  • Did the original trials keep track of most of their subjects right through to the end of the trial?
  • Did the trials you found mimic clinical practice?
  • Or could they be used in clinical practice?
  • Do the outcomes of the trials make sense?
  • Are the trials you found reported in the literature credible and repeatable?
  • Were these trials run with large enough cohorts to provide reliable data?
  • How does the evidence from this article inform my research?
  • How does it inform my practice?

Reference: Bandolier. (2007). Critical appraisal. http://www.bandolier.org.uk/booth/glossary/Critapp.html opens in a new window


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.