Critical appraisal (also called Risk of Bias Assessment) of your included articles is an important part of the research process.
A previously developed tool or one that is pre-created by your review team will be used to review each included article for bias on a variety of elements. This will ensure that articles used in the final review are relatable to each other - for example, population sizes were similar - so that generalizable conclusions and applications for practice can be outlined.
Regardless of varying expectations in appraisals with other colleagues, it is most important to remain consistent across all of articles you evaluate.
While Covidence does allow for Risk of Bias Assessment to be completed in the tool, your group will need to complete this stage manually.
For your group assignment, you are asked to use the following tools to evaluate your research as a group.
It is the preference for your assignment, that you pick one of the three and use all of the templates from that one for the relevant study types your group selected.
For more example checklists, check out Temple's Tools for Critical Appraisal or the Quality Assessment and Risk of Bias Tool Repository created by Duke Library.
Similar to the screening and full text review stages, it is common to see the critical appraisal stage be conducted using blinded methods. The blinding methods are automatically included in the Covidence tool. When conducting this external to Covidence, it needs to be done manually.
How to Blind During Critical Appraisal:
Remember your group assignment requires that you include all of your appraisal sheets.
Displaying the final analysis of risk of bias often involves creating a rating scheme to showcase all of the included studies - e.g. a table noting each study on a scale of 1-6 for quality.
Common Visualization Examples:
Creating Tables/Figures for Your Review:
The robvis online tool offers downloadable templates to add your study data and then the option to re-upload the data for the tool to create a visualization for you.
Your syllabus also contains an example table you can manually fill out to visualize your appraisal and ranking of the articles your group has selected to include in your assignment. If you would prefer to use this, please feel free!