This section of the site presents a framework for use in the critical appraisal of research papers and encourages an exploration of the many frameworks available. The framework included here is employed to illustrate the critical appraisal of a paper that includes both qualitative and quantitative methods, though concentrates on the analysis of the approaches taken to data analysis. You should look at a range of frameworks and use one, or elements of several, to critique in sufficient depth apprpriate to your level of study. Opportunities to develop your critical appraisal skills are offered.

Applying a framework of questions to interrogation a paper allows the reader to critically appraise the work, identifying its strengths and weaknesses and providing opportunities to make informed judgements about the study. The critical appraisal of published research as part of a literature review can inform the development of research questions, hypothesis and methodological approaches, or confirm that the body of knowledge that exists is sufficiently robust to suggest further research is not required.

A systematic review of the literature differs from a literature review, being based on a scientific design, which aims to reduce bias and increase reliability and provide a comprehensive picture of all of the available evidence.