OUTLINE FOR CRITIQUING EPIDEMIOLOGIC STUDIES
A. Problem is clearly stated?
B. Research question is clearly stated?
C. Hypothesis is clearly stated?
D. Problem is significant?
E. Was previous and similar research provided as background information?
F. Was the relationship between the problem and the previous research made clear?
G. Is there a compelling rationale for the proposed study?
H. Why is this research important?
I. What new knowledge will be gained from this investigation?
J. Collection of data
1. What was the primary association under investigation?
2. What was the primary research question?
3. What was the primary exposure of interest? Was this accurately measured? (Please explain.)
4. What was the primary outcome of interest? Was this accurately measured? (Please explain.)
5. What type of study is proposed?
6. Was research design clearly described?
7. Research design is appropriate to evaluate the association?
8. Research design is free of specific weaknesses?
9. Describe the source of the study population, process of subject selection and sample size.
10. Could there have been bias in the selection of the study subjects? How likely was this bias?
11. Could there have been bias in the selection of the information? How likely was this bias?
12. What provisions were made to minimize the influence of confounding factors prior to the analysis of the data? Were these provisions sufficient?
K. Analysis of data
1. What methods were used to control confounding bias during data analysis? Were these methods sufficient?
2. What measures of an association were reported in this study?
3. What measures of statistical stability were reported in this study?
L. Interpretation of results
1. What were the major results of this study?
2. How is the interpretation of these results affected by information bias, selection bias, and confounding? Discuss both the direction and magnitude of any bias.
3. How is the interpretation of these results affected by non-differential misclassification? Discuss both the direction and magnitude of this misclassification.
4. Were the limitations of the study adequately addressed?
5. To what larger population might the expected results of this study be generalized?
6. Are the results applicable to other racial/ethnic groups?
M. Clearly state your opinion of the scientific value of the proposed epidemiologic study [i.e., none (study is severely flawed), little (study has inherent limitations), modest (study has some limitations), or significant (study has little or no major flaws)].
N. Are the results scientifically valid? (Please explain and support your answer.)