Step 3: Evaluating Search Results

Once you have identified the information that you need you will need to evaluate it in order to assess whether it is applicable to the question that you are trying to answer.


Evaluating Information - use the CRAAP checklist to help you find good quality information.

Critical appraisal toolsan overview of a number of tools that can help you to critically appraise the literature that you find.

Evidence Hierarchylearn what the Evidence Hierarchy is and how it can help you.


For a summary of referencing take a look at the sections below:

There are a variety of issues to consider in order to assess whether the information that you have found is valid for your needs.

  • Relevance - is the information relevant to your question?
  • Authority - is the author qualified?
  • Quality - is the resource reputable? Is the information of good quality?
  • Timeliness - is the timeliness of the information applicable to your need?


You will need to develop critical appraisal skills in order to identify whether the research that you have found is of good quality and can be applied to your clinical question. 

There are a number of tools that can help you to ask the right questions about a study in order to identify whether it is suitable to answer your question.

Identifying the best relevant evidence forms only part of the clinical decision-making process; you also need to consider the patient's choices and values, your own and relevant colleagues clinical knowledge and the rules and regulations of the healthcare system that you work in.

Evidence-based practice jigsaw

See Galsziou and Del Mar (2007) Evidence-based Practice Workbook: bridging the gap between health care research and practice, 2nd edition, Blackwell Publishing. [Also available as ebook at URL: : date accessed: 10/06/2011]

There are a number of tools that can help you to evaluate your resources:

Analyse This - from Learn Higher, free online tutorial to help students learn how to analyse research data.

CASP - Critical Appraisal Skills Programme. Here you will find a number of toolkits that can be used to help you to critically appraise a range of different types of research.

Cochrane Library Glossary - for definitions and help with terminology.

Bandolier Glossary - for help with terminology.

Bandolier Learning Zone - here you will find downloaded leaflets on a range of topics related to evidence-based medicine.

More help with Critical Appraisal