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Critical Appraisal: Critical Appraisal Tools

A guide to critically appraising evidence for better healthcare practice

Critical Appraisal Worksheets

The following worksheets will assist the critical appraisal of various publication types.

The worksheets are sourced from the Centre for Evidence Based Medicine at Oxford

Each worksheet is a downloadable MSWord document which follows a standard way of appraising evidence based on the publication type.  These worksheets can be used by a group of interdisciplinary health professionals, a unified group or individuals interested in research and evidence based practice.  They may be of particular interest to those running journal clubs.

Online Journal Club

Nurses & Midwives who are running journal clubs have access to the Joanna Briggs Institute Image result for joanna briggs logo

online Journal Club via Dr. Steevens' online library.  Simply login to Athens and choose 'Clinical Databases OVID'.  A guide on how to use this system is available below.


Checklist for setting up a Journal Club

Checklist for Setting Up a Journal Club

This checklist is designed to help as you set up a successful, sustainable journal club.  Each step can be checked off on the left side and details can fill the blanks provided. An example plan is provided on page 2 of this checklist.


Establish qualified, invested leadership - a committed mentor & champions

            Name of leader: _______________________________________________

            Name of at least 2 champions:

  1. ___________________________________________________
  2. ___________________________________________________

Identify a like-minded small group of participants ______________________

Invitation sent to librarian to join the journal club

Identify the concept(s) to be discussed, including goals, purposes and format of the club (i.e., don’t be too ambitious or try to accomplish too much in one session or one series)

  • Have basic didactic exchange to even the playing field
  • Decide if the club will focus on: for example,
    •  learning the EBP process
    • discussing basic, original single studies that answer a clinical question
    • interpreting studies with different methodologies
  • Consider whether journal club is mandatory or episodic attendance is acceptable
  • Identify timeline for journal club (individual sessions & entire series)
  • Communicate purpose of journal club to participants
  • Identify easily accessible location for all participants to meet
  • Ensure computer access at designated location
  • Negotiate a reasonable time for meeting
  • Plan for refreshments
  • Identify the outcomes to be produced by the journal club and how to measure them
  • Communicate details about the journal club to others (non-participants: leadership, clinicians, students)


Sample Outline for a Journal Club About the Basics of the EBP Process

Journal Club Session



Session ONE:

Spirit of Inquiry

Session TWO:

Asking a Clinical Question

Session THREE:

Finding the Answer (Searching Databases)

Session FOUR:

Critical Appraisal of studies for initiating a practice change (evaluation of methodological quality & level of each study; evaluation of each study and synthesis of the body of evidence)

Session FIVE:

Create a plan for integration of what is known from external evidence with internal evidence (practice data) with a clinician's expertise and what the patient values and prefers (this will likely cover a couple of meetings and time between meetings may be longer to allow for time to achieve the outcomes)

Session SIX:

Evaluate outcomes (usually the ones from the literature or PICOT question)

Session SEVEN:

Disseminate the outcomes to local stakeholders and beyond



National Health Library & Knowledge Service. Health Service Executive. Dr. Steevens' Hospital, Dublin 8. Tel: 01-6352555/8. Email: