Before you go onto extracting information from the identified papers remaining from the screening stage of your high level review you are required to assess the quality of the studies.
This is quite a rigorous process so please ensure you allow yourself and your review team members enough time to complete this phase.
What do we mean by quality?
Quality refers the rigour (design, conducted, reported) of the study/paper and relevance; does it provide meaningful information to assist in answering your high level review question.
How do you assess the quality of each of the papers?
There are a number of Critical Appraisal Tools (CATs) to assist you with your appraisal. Please note that when you are applying a CAT it cannot be altered. You must use CAT/s that are appropriate for the papers included in your review. If you are undertaking an Integrative review, you will probably need to use more than one CAT because of the diverse range of papers included.
Below is a list of CATs that may assist you in your critical appraisal. Please ensure that you discuss the appropriate tool with your supervisor if you are unsure which CAT you should apply to your papers.
Critical appraisal tools A list of the major critical appraisal tools, curated by the International Centre for Allied Health Evidence (iCAHE).
Critical appraisal skills programme (CASP) Tools for systematic reviews, randomised controlled trials, cohort studies, and case control studies. The Cochrane Common Mental Disorders group have 7 videos demonstrating the application of CASP to various study designs.
AMSTAR Assessment of Multiple Systematic Reviews (AMSTAR) is a 37-item assessment tool used to assess the methodological quality of systematic reviews.
JBI: Critical appraisal tools CATs for a range of study types: case control, case reports, cohort, diagnostic test , economic evaluations, prevalence, quasi-experimental, RCTs, SRs and more.
PEDro – Physiotherapy Evidence Database Developed to support evidence-based practice in physiotherapy. Trials are assessed for quality using the PEDro scale . Aimed at a global audience and produced in Australia by the Institute for Musculoskeletal Health.