There are numerous checklists available to act as aide memoires for evaluating studies and they can be very useful.

However, a key issue in critically appraising studies is that, while it can be thought of in terms of being an academic exercise of ‘ticking the boxes’, the reason why we are doing it is to evaluate what weight we can put on the findings, and to evaluate how far we can generalise the results from trials into routine practice to inform clinical care.

Since these pragmatic issues always need to be borne in mind when critically appraising study data, here we present some checklists for different study types and
examples of how they can be applied to a specific study. We also present some information for tricky critical appraisal scenarios.

Appraising two-armed RCTs
Appraising multiple-armed RCTs
Appraising diagnostic test studies
Appraising systematic reviews
Assessing multiple systematic reviews on the same question

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