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RN-BSN Library Guide

Use this Library Research Guide to help locate evidence-based resources including articles, information on research appraisal, statistics, evidence translation, clinical practice tools, informatics and professional resources.

Evaluating Evidence

Evaluation Table

Creating an evaluation table to help to organize your literature by theme, sample design, measurement, and other categories. You will find areas to include in an Evaluation Chart below.

Consider the following;

  • Author (Year)
  • Conceptual Framework
  • Design/Method
  • Sample/Setting
  • Major Variables Studied
  • Measurement
  • Data Analysis
  • Findings
  • Appraisal/Notes

Critically Appraise Scientific Literature

Initial steps

  • Does the article attempt to answer the same question as your clinical question, and is the study relevant to your line of inquiry?
  • What type of research question is being asked? A well-developed research question usually identifies three components: the group or population of patients, the studied parameter (e.g., a therapy or clinical intervention), and outcomes of interest.
  • Is the article recent? Has it been published within the last 5 years, or would it be considered a seminal article (an article considered to be part of the foundation of this research)
  • Is the journal peer-reviewed (Tip, check Ulrich’s database This link opens in a new window to determine if the journal is scholarly and refereed/peer-reviewed)
  • Do the authors present a hypothesis?

Evaluate the methodology (see also “Levels of Evidence This link opens in a new window”)

  • What is the study design, and is it valid for your question?
  • Who are the study participants and is there an attempt to limit bias?
  • Do the research methods limit the influence of confounding variables?
  • Are the outcome measures valid for the health condition?

Evaluate the results

  • Is there a table that describes the subjects’ demographics?
  • Are the subjects generalizable to your patient?
  • Are the statistical tests appropriate for the study design and clinical question?
  • Are the results presented in the paper?
  • Are the results statistically significant and how large is the difference between the groups?

Evaluate the conclusion

  • Do authors discuss non-significant data in an attempt to portray significance?
  • Do the authors acknowledge limitations?
  • Are there any conflicts of interest noted?

Adapted from Cochrane Critical Appraisal: A Checklist This link opens in a new window

Source Evaluation Rubric

This rubric can help you determine if a source is a "good" source; one that is reliable to use in your research or paper. It can help you weed out "bad" sources and defend your "good" sources to your instructor.

How to use this Rubric:

  1. Enter information about the source at the top of the page, i.e. title, url, author, dates
  2. For each line, starting with Currency, read each box from left to right and choose the one that matches your source the best
  3. Enter the column number, 1-4 that corresponds to the box that matches your source the best in the right hand column
  4. Once every line has a number, tally the numbers in the right hand column and write the score at the bottom of the page

The score you tally is out of 24 total points. You must determine what is the lowest score you will accept.

An acceptable score for a source to be used in a research paper for college is between 20 to 24.

C.R.A.A.P.O Source Evaluation Rubric
  ONE (1) TWO (2) THREE (3) FOUR (4) SCORE

No publish date listed -- or No revisions in the last eighteen months*.

No updates in the past year*.

Updated in the last six months*.

Publish date included -- or Updated in the last three months*.



Content is unrelated to your topic -- and / or level is too simple / too advanced.

Content is either related and incorrect level – Or unrelated and correct level.

Content is related -- And at correct level -- But you are not comfortable using the source in your research.

Content is related -- And at correct level – And you are comfortable using the source in your research.



No author is listed -- and No contact info provided.

No author is listed – but includes contact information.

Author is listed without credentials -- You are unsure if the author is the creator of the material.

Author is listed with credentials -- Is the originator of the information-- Contact information provided



Information is not verifiable -- Resources not documented.

Some resources are not documented -- some links do not work*.

Most resources are documented -- links work*.

Well organized source -- Resources documented -- links work*



A lot of advertising makes the content unclear.

Purpose is to sell, entertain, or persuade -- Source contains a lot of advertising and bias.

Purpose is to inform and teach-- Contains some advertising -- Minimal bias.

Purpose is to inform and teach -- Contains little advertising -- Bias free.



It is unclear what institution published and support the source.

It is unclear if author has any connection with a larger institution -- Source is .com, .org, or other generic domain type*

Source is supported by larger institution -- But some bias is apparent.

It is clear the source was published and supported by a reputable institution -- Bias free.


        TOTAL SCORE:
(of possible 24)


The C.R.A.A.P. Test was created by Sarah Blakeslee (University of California at Chico, Meriam Library). With her permission, this content was based off her original text with some modification.