Critical Appraisal Tools (CATs)

Critical appraisal is a core step in systematic reviews. Critical appraisal tools (or checklists) are used to help students, professionals, and researchers assess the quality and trustworthiness of scientific research. Quality appraisal is key in judging if a study is trustworthy.

More than 500 tools exist to help perform quality appraisal. However, few of these tools have had been tested for validity and reliability.

The purpose of this website is to present the CATs that have been tested to asses their validaty and/or reliability.

About the Author

Quan Nha Hong is a postdoctoral researcher at the Evidence for Policy and Practice Information and Co-ordinating Centre (EPPI-Centre) and the Institut national d’excellence en santé et en services sociaux (INESSS). She holds a postdoctoral fellowship from the Fonds de recherche du Québec – santé (FRQS). Also, she is an occupational therapist with research training in clinical sciences (MSc, Université de Sherbrooke), health technology assessment and management (MSc, Université de Montréal), and family medicine and primary care (PhD, McGill University). She is interested in systematic reviews, mixed methods research, quality appraisal, and health technology assessment.

CATevaluation is supported by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR-IRSC), le Fonds de recherche du Québec – Santé (FRQS), and the Method Development Component of the Quebec SPOR Support Unit. The component aims to meet the needs of researchers, patients, clinicians and managers for advanced methods (methodological and technical approaches) for the planning, conduct and evaluation of patient-oriented research. The Method Development Component is located in the Department of Family Medicine at McGill University.

Keep up with CATs

We are monitoring critical appraisal tool literature using a collaborative web tool called eSRAP-DIY. This tool was developed for use by researchers working within the Quebec Strategy for Patient-Oriented Research (Stratégie de recherche axée sur le patient), who sought a way to collaboratively monitor new research in their field.

The eSRAP system allows you to monitor and filter (or identify) the latest most relevant scholarly publications on a given topic. Using a typical search strategy, this automated system monitors and retrieves new research abstracts as soon as they are added to a bibliographic database (e.g., Scopus, Pubmed). Using crowdsourcing, these abstracts are then rated by your peers for relevance and quality. More participation from active community members leads to less effort for each individual member. 

If you are interested in joining the collaboration community for this project, please email Quan Nha Hong at [email protected].