Adapted from Public Health Resource Unit, England (2006) Critical Appraisal Skills Programme by Jennifer Reid, Speech and Language Therapy Service, NHS Fife. Cartoons by Fran commissioned by Speech and Language Therapy in Practice. Accompanies Reid, J. (2011)‘Journal Club 5: observational studies’,
Speech & Language Therapy in Practice
Autumn, pp.18-21.Please attribute these sources if you use, distribute or adapt any of this material.
Were the cases recruited in an acceptable way?
Look for selection bias which might compromise thevalidity of the findings.
Participants/cases representative of defined population (geographically and/or temporally)?
Time frame of prospective study relevant to the development of the outcome?
How has attrition (loss to follow-up) been dealt with?
‘Caseness’ defined precisely? (One or more wrongly allocated individuals may seriously influencethe results of case-controlled study.)
Are cases incident or prevalent, and is this appropriate for addressing question?
Anything special about the cases (that would hinder generalisation of findings)?
Sufficient number of participants selected? Power calculation used?
Were the controls selected in an acceptable way?
Look for selection bias which might compromise theextent to which the findings can be generalised.
Anything special about the controls?
Non-response high? Could non-respondents be different in any way?
Established reliable system for selecting all the cases?
Are they matched, population-based or randomly selected? Rationale okay? Systematic methodsused for matching?
Sufficient number of controls selected?