“To believe or not to believe….?”
As doctors, we are called to
art and science of Critical Appraisal
The art and science of critically appraising research
Essentially there are only four questions you need to ask about anything anyone says about any aspect of medicine:
- Does the study have a clear focus? Or has it bitten off more than it can chew?
- Are the methods used to answer the question valid? Did the study on patient’s opinions actually use patient opinions to inform their results?
- Are the results important in general? Does the study on healthcare satisfaction based on whether patients are seated on the left-hand versus the right-hand side of the waiting room really matter?
- Are the results relevant to you? Does it apply to your patient, your practice or your population? The study on the effects of extreme
sub zerotemperatures on migraines in Antarctica may be interesting, but is it really relevant to your practice in tropical Queensland?
Appraising medical and health research
Medical and health research can be broadly
practice makes perfect
The CASP website provides a comprehensive checklist to help you decide whether to believe or not to believe. These critical appraisal tools are designed to be used when reading the research articles on a variety of study designs. To practice your critical appraisal skills; find a relevant article, identify the appropriate tool and work your way through the appraisal steps.