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Systematic reviews: Evaluation of studies

Assessment instruments

Clinical Studies

  • Systematic reviews
    AMSTAR (A Measurement Tool to Assess Systematic Reviews).
    ROBIS (Risk of bias in systematic review)
  • Guidelines
    AGREE II (The Appraisal of Guidelines for Research and Evaluation).
  • Randomised controlled trials
    RCT (risk of bias assessment tool, Cochrane Collaboration).
    ROBINS-I tool (Risk Of Bias In Non-randomized Studies - of Interventions).
  • Primary diagnostic studies
    QUADAS-2 (A quality assessment tool for diagnostic accuracy studies).
    GRADE (Grading of Recommendations Assessment, Development and Evaluation).
    An internationally developed common, sensible and transparent approach to grading quality (or certainty) of evidence and strength of recommendations.
    The evidence is assessed per effect measures across studies, and assessment criteria include risk of bias, inconsistency and inaccuracies.

Assessing the quality of evidence

Critical appraisal is the systematic review and evaluation of research articles for the purpose of assessing their credibility and quality.

Different checklists exist depending on the study design used in the article under evaluation.

Assessment instruments

Qualitative Studies

  • CASP qualitative studies (Critical Appraisal Skills Programme)
    Ten questions to consider when appraising qualitative studies.
  • CASP systematic reviews (Critical Appraisal Skills Programme)
    Ten questions to consider when appraising systematic reviews.
  • SURE qualitative studies (Specialist Unit for Review Evidence)
    Ten questions to assist with the critical appraisal of qualitative studies.
  • SURE systematic review (Specialist Unit for Review Evidence
    Eleven questions to assist with the critical appraisal of systematic reviews.

Cardiff University Specialist Unit for Review Evidence has collected checklists for the appraisal of the quality and risk of bias in different studies on their site Critial Appraisal Tools.