How to critically appraise an article .Nature  Clinical Practice

By Jane M Young and Michael J Solomon

Date: 01/2009
Journal: Nature  Clinical Practice

Summary:

  • Clinicians must be able to appraise scientific literature to enable them focus on the highest-quality studies that will guide their clinical practice.
  • It is important to identify the specific research question, as this will determine the optimal study design which is the most important component of critical appraisal .
  • Different study designs are prone to varying sources of systematic bias. Clinicians were recommend to use a design specific critical appraisal checklists to decide whether the study in question is of high quality. 
  • The majority of systematic review or a meta-analysis are subjected to a risk of Publication bias. The QUORUM (Quality of Reporting of Meta-Analyses) statement provides a comprehensive framework for assessments of the quality
  • The CONSORT (Consolidated Standards of Reporting Trials) statement provides a comprehensive tool with which to assess the standard of reporting in randomized trials.
  • The STROBE (Strengthening the Reporting of Observational Studies in Epidemiology) statement used for appraisal of observational studies.
  • The STARD (Standards for the Reporting of Diagnostic Accuracy Studies) website provides a flowchart for standardized appraisal of studies that assess the accuracy of diagnostic tests.
  • Clinicians should consider evaluating other essential factors such as the correct use of statistical analysis, a complete interpretation of the results, a conclusion that is clear and based on data and identification of a potential conflict of interest.