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What is a Literature Search?

This is a systematic, organised search of the research papers published on a particular topic. A well-structured literature search is the most effective and efficient way to locate reliable evidence on a research topic.

When you have sourced your relevant journal articles to answer a clinical question, you require the ability to critically appraise them.

What is Critical Appraisal?

<aside> 🐾 Critical appraisal of a journal article is a literary and scientific systematic dissection in an attempt to assign merit to the conclusions of an article.


Critical appraisal of scientific literature is a necessary skill for healthcare professionals as part of their professional obligation and CPD commitment. This leads to progression of skills linked to a sound knowledge base, as they navigate along their specific career journey.

<aside> ➡️ Signpost: Database searching is a skill in itself, check out References + Resources


Ideally, an article will be able to undergo scrutiny using critical thinking skills to evaluate the findings as valid.

What is Reliability + Validity?

In the clinical setting, making evidence-based decisions requires methods that are accurate, reliable and valid. Accuracy is where the result of a measurement equates to the correct value that is precise.

Reliability is a measure of the repeatability of the activity.