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Following the development of a focused question and discovering the best evidence to answer the question, appraisal is the next step in the Evidence Based Medicine process.
It requires that the evidence found be evaluated for its validity and clinical usefulness.
What is validity?
Internal validity is the extent to which the experiment demonstrated a cause-effect relationship between the independent and dependent variables.
External validity is the extent to which one may safely generalize from the sample studied to the defined target population and to other populations.
What is reliability?
Reliability is the extent to which the results of the experiment are replicable. The research methodology should be described in detail so that the experiment could be repeated with similar results.
CATs are critical summaries of a research article. They are concise, standardized, and provide an appraisal of the research.
If a CAT already exists for an article, it can be read quickly and the clinical bottom line can be put to use as the clinician sees fit. If a CAT does not exist, the CAT format provides a template to appraise the article of interest.
Find out more about CATS on the LEVELS OF EVIDENCE page.
Start by asking simple questions about the article:
See also Study Design Terminology on the LEVELS OF EVIDENCE page.
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