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Systematic Review: 3. Assess quality

Assess quality

The next step in the process is to assess the quality of the included studies. There are a number of checklists available to assist you with this.  A checklist should be chosen to assess sources of bias that are likely to affect results in relation to the research question . If your review is for publication or submission to a particular organisation, make sure you check if they have any requirements regarding checklist selection.

There are several different checklists or tools available to you:

CASP checklists - 8 appraisal tools
JBI checklists - 13 appraisal tools
CEBM checklists - 6 appraisal tools
Consort checklist  checklist of information to include when reporting a randomised trial
ROBINS-I  assess risk of bias in non-randomised studies of interventions
COSMIN  consensus-based standards for the selection of health measurement instruments
QUADAS-2  evaluate the risk of bias and applicability of primary diagnostic accuracy studies
NHLBI NIH Study Quality Assessment Tools - 6 checklists
Dartmouth Biomedical Libraries - 9 critical appraisal tools
QACE - Quality Assessment of Community Evidence - 2 appraisal tools
MMAT - Mixed methods Appraisal Tool from McGill University
The GRADE approach: see the GRADE guidelines, the Melbourne Grade Centre website, or the sections in the Cochrane handbook on assessing the quality of the body of evidence.


At a minimum, your systematic review should state what types of studies should be included and the threshold for inclusion to reduce the likelihood of including studies with poor quality evidence. A risk of bias assessment also helps to inform the interpretation of the review's results.