Critiquing the Evidence: How do I know if I can use the evidence?
Questions to consider:
Do my clients have this clinical problem?
Do my clients manifest the problem in the same
manner as described in the article?
Are there differences between my clients and
the research participants that could cause differences in the treatment
Do my clients have co-morbid conditions that
are contraindications for the treatment or intervention?
Are there economical or social factors (e.g.
insurance) that would affect my clients' compliance?
Are my clients and practice similar to the
research participants and providers?
Would the treatment/intervention match my
clients' desires and morals?
Is this treatment/intervention in my clients'
Are the potential harms and costs worth the
possible treatment benefits?
Are the results of the study valid for my
clients and are the results from the study valid? (i.e. Were the
participants randomized? Was the sample size sufficient? Were the
instruments valid and reliable? Were all of the clinically important
outcomes considered? Can the results be generalized to my clients?)
Many of the following websites provide information
on how to critique research articles to determine if the findings are
applicable to your practice.
Centre for Health Evidence (2003). How to
decide on the applicability of clinical trials results to your
patient. Retrieved December 1, 2003 from Centre for Health
EBM Toolkit (2003). Worksheet for using an
article about therapy or prevention. Retrieved December 1, 2003 from