Who is the course for?

Critical Appraisal is a skill which needs to be practised by all health professionals as part of their work. This introductory course is for any staff working in a health environment, and aims to cover the basic principles of critically appraising quantitative research. It is not intended to cover statistical analyses or research methods in detail.

Course description

Critical appraisal has been defined as “To weigh up the evidence critically to assess its validity (closeness to the truth) and usefulness (clinical applicability).” Sackett & Haynes, EBM 1995; 1:4-5

Health professionals are faced with an overwhelming quantity of information and from this they must be able to sift the important and relevant findings in order to apply these to their practice.

Critical appraisal skills can help you in making informed decisions, in evidencing proposals and researching for reports. There will be pre-reading prior to the course.

This introductory course covers:

  • principles of critical appraisal and why it is important
  • a summary of the steps involved in appraising quantitative research
  • appraising an article in a group, using a checklist
  • resources to assist critical appraisal. 

Learning objectives

By the end of the session participants will be able to:

  • identify principles of critical appraisal
  • identify areas to consider when appraising quantitative research
  • use a checklist to help critically appraise a piece of quantitative research
  • evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of a piece of quantitative research as a group. 

About the trainer

Tom Edge is a member of the Learning & Skills team within Library Services at King’s College London. Through face-to-face sessions and the provision of online materials, they work with NHS staff from Guy’s and St Thomas’ and King’s College Hospital NHS Foundation Trusts to enhance their abilities in finding and evaluating information.