Critical evaluation: Information sources

Last updated: Tuesday, July 14, 2015

The Critical Appraisal Skills Programme (CASP) offers a series of practical checklists (‘critical appraisal tools’) to help you systematically evaluate clinical evidence including RCTs. Explore their website and look at the resources they have available, but note that you might need to update your browser to access the site properly. Try using Google Chrome if your Trust uses an outdated version of Internet Explorer. There are some free e-learning courses on the CASP website too.

The NICE Medicines and Prescribing Centre facilitates the promotion of high quality, cost-effective prescribing. Visit their website for evidence-based summaries about new medicines or unlicensed medicines. You might like to compare the evidence-based reviews of medicines (technology appraisals) and clinical guidelines on the NICE website, with those available in Scotland. Try both the Scottish Intercollegiate Guidelines Network (SIGN) and the Scottish Medicines Consortium (SMC) for information on the effectiveness of new and existing medicines.


The Cochrane Library also has a collection of evidence-based reviews that are regularly updated, including The Cochrane Databases of Systematic Reviews. NICE Evidence Search is a gateway to many evidence-based resources including its own and those from e.g. Royal Colleges.

Be careful about conducting a general internet search when looking for critically evaluated evidence. If you do, you may like to look at our brief guide to evaluating websites about medicines.