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What is critical appraisal?

typing on a computer

Critical appraisal is a crucial part of evidence-based medicine, yet reading and critiquing a journal article can seem like a daunting and complex task. Breaking the process down into steps should enable you to build up the necessary skills, such as:

- Skimming the article in the first instance to look for the author's main points and conclusions

- Being familiar with the way that many journal articles are structured (abstract, method, results, discussion etc)

- Reflecting on and being critical of what you are reading

A checklist or toolkit such as those on this page will guide you through this process in a structured way. This page will also direct you to articles, web pages, online guides and books to guide you toward effectively appraising scientific articles.

If you have any suggestions for helpful books, links, or resources about critical appraisal please email


Toolkits and checklists for critical appraisal

Helpful links

Books and ebooks

New books are published regularly on the topic of reading a paper, study skills, critical appraisal etc - click the books below or use Library Search to explore books in our collection:

New to using Library Search?

You can find online tutorials on using Library Search to find books and journals around your subject. Find them in the Getting Started With Your Studies section of KLaSS: