Cari had already decided at the beginning of the study to follow the Joanna Briggs Institute process for the review. This meant she and Lee could easily access the relevant quality checklists from the JBI website. There are assessment tools for most types of studies, including the randomized control trials, case-control studies and cross-sectional studies identified.
These checklists provide the final level of filtering to ensure that only quality studies are considered towards Cari and Lee’s overall conclusions. They provide a structure for independently reviewing each article’s methodology and reporting against the checklist criteria. The checklists include specific prompts, as well as detailed descriptions of each criterion.
Cari and Lee recall that previous reviews they have looked at have cautioned against being too stringent when excluding articles at this full-text phase - in some new areas of research, there is very little evidence available at all. In these cases, it is sometimes necessary to consider weak results or poor-quality studies, but with this limitation clearly recorded and discussed. Indeed, if the only evidence available is from low-quality studies, it makes a good case for a stronger study to be conducted in the future. In some cases, there might also be sound ethical or practical reasons why study quality in a certain field might be limited.
Ultimately, it is up to Cari and Lee, using their critical judgement, and guided by the checklists, to decide whether or not a particular article is of sufficient quality to be considered.