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A Guide to Critical Appraisal of Health Research

Appraising Practice Guidelines: Some Basic Questions

These are some basic points to consider when evaluating a practice or treatment guideline:

  • Does the guideline address a clear research question?
  • Was there a comprehensive search for the evidence?
  • Is there clear inclusion and exclusion criteria?
  • Are the methods for arriving at the recommendations clearly documented?
  • Do the recommendations consider health benefits, potential side effects, and possible risks?
  • Do the guidelines apply to your patient?
  • Are the key recommendations easy to identify?
  • Is the guideline free of any potential conflicts of interest?
  • How current is the guideline?

Heneghan, C., & Badenoch, Douglas. (2006). Evidence-based medicine toolkit (2nd ed.). Malden, Mass. ; Oxford: BMJ Books/Blackwell Pub.

Additional Guides to Evaluating Treatment Guidelines

  Ransohoff, Pignone, M., & Sox, H. C. (2013). How to Decide Whether a Clinical Practice Guideline Is Trustworthy. JAMA : the Journal of the American Medical Association, 309(2), 139–140.


Health Sciences Librarian

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Kate Silfen
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