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Critical Appraisal Checklists


Over the years SURE team members have worked with a large number of different critical appraisal tools and checklists in our systematic review work and in our teaching. There are pluses and minuses with all of them.

Many papers have been published over the last ten to fifteen years that indicate the multiplicity of ways in which error and bias can distort the results of papers. We have attempted to capture this work in the SURE checklists, using detailed sub-questions to tease out issues. Over the next few months, we will be adding explanatory notes related to each question.  Any feedback and suggestions for improvement will be welcomed (

In addition to the SURE checklists, other checklists that the team has found useful for different types of research study are included.  Some forms (including the SURE forms) are designed to help assess any potential sources of bias in the research study that can be presented in a narrative summary.  Some checklists will lead to a summary quality score and these are marked [SCORE].


Published Critical Appraisal Checklists


1. Systematic (literature) reviews of primary research studies


2. Intervention (experimental) studies


3. Observational studies


4. Qualitative (views and opinions) studies


5. Diagnostic accuracy studies


6. Economic evaluation studies


7. Overall assessment of a body of research with different study designs


8. Not sure of study type?


9. Reporting standards for use when writing up a primary research study

  • PRISMA for systematic reviews
  • CONSORT for randomised controlled trials
  • STROBE for observational studies
  • STARD statement [STAndards for the Reporting of Diagnostic test accuracy studies]
  • PRESS EBC Checklist for Peer Review of Electronic Search Strategies