Critical Appraisals Tools

Critical Appraisals Tools

At all stages of the research endeavor, it is important to consider the limitations and strengths of the study design, especially when situating the study in a particular field of research. One helpful set of tools to aid researchers in assessing the quality and validity of a research paper are critical appraisals tools.

What are critical appraisals tools?

  • Critical appraisals tools are evidence-based checklists that highlight: the best practices of data collection, reducing potential biases, and the reliability and validity of the study results.
  • Critical appraisals consist of two elements, how the study was conducted and how the research/findings are presented.
  • By understanding the strengths and limitations of each research article using evidence-based critical appraisals tools, researchers can better decide if the information from the study can be used in the environment and in practice (Glynn, 2006, p. 398).

Why should we use critical appraisals tools?

  • The best practice techniques that are noted in critical appraisals tools provide a method to assess and compare the quality of the studies.
  • The information from critical appraisals can be used to better inform researchers on potential issues within research studies and in systematic reviews to uncover issues in the research that needs to be addressed.

Benefits from using critical appraisals tools:

  • By using a critical appraisals checklist while reading research articles, you can determine the quality of the study and the study results.
  • When a critical appraisals checklist list is used when you are developing a research study, measures to improve the study quality by using reliable measures and reducing potential biases, thus creating a stronger and more appropriate study.
  • Researchers can better develop as writers and consumers of knowledge by applying critical appraisal tool in reading and writing research articles (Glynn, 2006).
  • Critical appraisal tools provide a standardized format to assessing the quality of a research product.

Some examples of critical appraisals tools:

  • The Joanna Briggs Institute (JBI) Critical Appraisal Checklists (Pearson, Field, & Jordan, 2009)
    • There are several JBI checklists that can implemented depending on the type of research design, such as: experimental deigns, narrative/opinion papers, observational studies, cohort studies, and case control studies.
    • Here is the link to the JBI Critical Appraisals Checklists:  Joana Briggs Institute critical checklists.
  • The Journal of the Canadian Family Physician Checklists for authors and reviewers (Canadian Family Physician, 2016).
    • The Canadian Family Physician provides checklists for reviewers and authors on a variety of research design types, such as qualitative studies, quantitative studies, survey research, case reports, and systematic reviews.
    • Here is the link to the Critical Appraisal Checklists from the Canadian Family Physician: Canadian Family Physician Checklists for authors and reviewers
  • Evidence-Based Librarianship (EBL) critical appraisal checklist (Glynn, 2006)
    • The EBL checklist also includes a calculation for research validity scoring across four sections (i.e., population, data collection, study design, and results) in addition to an overall validity score.
    • Here is a link to the article that contains the EBL:  A critical appraisal tool for library and information research.


Canadian Family Physician (2016). Checklists for authors and reviewers. Retrieved from

Glynn, L. (2006). A critical appraisal tool for library and information researchLibrary Hi Tech, 24, 387-399.

Pearson, A., Field, J., & Jordan, Z. (2009). Evidence-based clinical practice in nursing and health care: Assimilating research, experience and expertise. Oxford, UK: Blackwell Publishing.

Additional Checklists:

British Medical Journal (2016). BMJ Editor’s checklists. Retrieved from:

-The BMJ Editor’s checklist has critical appraisals checklists for qualitative studies and quantitative studies so authors know some of the points that are considered during the review process.

Greenhalgh, T., Robert, G., Macfarlane, F., Bate, P., & Kyriakidou, O. (2004). Diffusion of innovations in service organizations: Systematic review and recommendationsThe Milbank Quarterly, 82(4), 581–629. doi: 10.1111/j.0887-378X.2004.00325.x

-Appendix 2 has a list of the checklists that were adapted from other sources for different types of research designs, such as: experimental designs, attribution studies, qualitative studies, survey research, and mix-methodology.

Tabachnick B.G. & Fidell, L.S. (2007). Using multivariate statistics, fifth edition. New York, NY: Pearson Education, Inc.

-Tabachnick and Fidell (2007, p. 91) provide a checklist to help guide researchers in the steps of data screening and data cleaning for univariate and multivariate analyses.


Creative Commons License


This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.