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Critical Appraisal Techniques for Healthcare Literature

St. George's University via FutureLearn


Learn to analyse healthcare research papers and determine their value

In today’s clinical professions, staff are expected to keep up with fast-changing, evidence-based research in their own field and beyond.

On this course, you will learn critical appraisal techniques to evaluate the quality of healthcare research literature.

You will evaluate published papers, interrogate their methodologies, identify strengths and weaknesses and produce a balanced appraisal of papers to discuss with colleagues, patients, and academic bodies. You’ll assess the contributions of published papers to their research fields, and identify where there’s a need for further research.

This course is designed for healthcare professionals including medics, dentists, nurses, midwives, paramedics, radiologists, occupational therapists, physiotherapists and pharmacists.

It will be relevant to any stage of a career. Established professionals may look to complete the course as evidence of CPD, and the skills will also be highly relevant to junior staff, trainees, and undergraduate/postgraduate students.

This course will also be useful for healthcare educational researchers and any other learners who:

-Need to critically appraise and stay abreast of the healthcare research literature as part of their clinical duties

-Are considering carrying out research & developing their own research projects.

-Are undertaking or plan to join a formal pre-doctoral integrated academic training programme.


  • Introduction to critical appraisal
    • What is critical appraisal?
    • How do we critically appraise?
    • The research question
    • Dissecting the methodology
    • Interpreting study results
    • What have you learnt?
  • Appraisal of quantitative study designs
    • The week ahead
    • Randomised controlled trials (RCTs)
    • Cross-sectional survey studies
    • Cohort and case-control studies
    • Systematic reviews
    • Reporting and presentation of statistical analyses
    • What have you learnt?
  • Appraisal of qualitative study designs
    • The week ahead
    • Introduction to qualitative research
    • Standards, tools and concepts for appraising qualitative research
    • Critical appraisal example 1: Phenomenology
    • Critical appraisal example 2: Grounded theory
    • Critical appraisal example 3: Ethnography
    • What have you learnt?

Taught by

Sarah White


4.5 rating at FutureLearn based on 39 ratings

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