Critical Appraisal Tools (CATs)

Critical appraisal is a core step in systematic reviews. Critical appraisal tools (also named Risk of bias tools and Quality assessment tools) 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 validity and/or reliability.

About the contributors

Quan Nha Hong is an assistant professor at the School of Rehabilitation at Université de Montréal. 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 also completed a postdoctoral training 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 is interested in systematic reviews, knowledge synthesis methods, mixed methods research, quality appraisal, evidence-based practice, and health technology assessment.

Julien Bouix-Picasso is a doctoral candidate in a joint international PhD (cotutelle) in nursing (Université de Montréal – UdeM) and in public health at the Laboratoire Éducations et Pratiques en Santé (UR 3412, Université Sorbonne Paris Nord). He holds a doctoral scholarship from the French Military Health Service and the Research Chair in Innovative Nursing Practices (FSI, UdeM). He is a nurse anaesthetist at the École du Val-de-Grâce in Paris. He has clinical training in anaesthesia and burn critical care as well as in health pedagogy (M.P.H, Université Sorbonne Paris Nord). He is interested in knowledge synthesis, mixed methods, appropriation of technologies, patient learning, nursing interventions and advanced practice.

Christian Ruchon obtained his Master’s degree in Family Medicine at McGill University where he studied the occurrence of evidence reversal in randomized controlled trials relevant to primary care. He now works as a Knowledge Translation Coordinator with the Quebec SPOR SUPPORT Unit and is a Tannenbaum Fellow supporting residents’ quality improvement projects. Christian is passionate about research literacy, the stability of studies over time and evidence-based medicine.

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].