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Physical Therapy: Critical Evaluation Tools

Connect directly to a wide variety of resources to support your clinical and research needs.

What's On This Page?

On this page you'll find tools to help you critically evaluate the articles you find.  While you're the only one who can determine if an article is relevant to your research question, these scales, checklists, and review tools can help you decided if the research is internally valid, the results interpretable, and how applicable the results are to your work. 

PRISMA Flow Diagram

Finding and Appraising the Evidence

If you'd like a step-by-step refresher on how to find and appraise the evidence found in randomized control trials and systematic reviews, this series of tutorials from Health Knowledge will walk you through each step of the process.  (Note: you will need headphones if you're in a public space.)

Qualitative Studies

"Research that seeks to provide understanding of human experience, perceptions, motivations, intentions, and behaviours based on description and observation and utilizing a naturalistic interpretative approach to a subject and its contextual setting."

Consider using one of the following when examining research:

RCTs

"An experimental study to assess the effects of a particular variable (e.g., a drug or treatment) in which subjects are assigned randomly to an experimental, placebo, or control group. The experimental group receives the drug or procedure; the placebo group’s medication is disguised to resemble the drug being investigated. The control group receives nothing. Members of each group are prevented from knowing whether they are receiving active therapy. The researchers gathering the data are also typically blinded to group assignment."

Consider using the follwing scale to determine the internal and external validity, and if the results are interpretable:

What is Peer-Review?

"Peer review is the process through which professional abstracts, proposals, grants, manuscripts, and practice are examined by a team of qualified reviewers who determine the quality of the work product in relation to current knowledge in that field."

- Nursing Leadership