Critical evaluation: Information sources

Last updated: Thursday, March 03, 2022

The UK 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 or use a different browser to access the site properly. 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 and Wales. Try the Scottish Intercollegiate Guidelines Network (SIGN), the Scottish Medicines Consortium (SMC) and the All Wales Medicines Strategy Group (AWMSG) 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.

TRIP is a gateway to many evidence-based resources including those from professional bodies 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.