AXIS - Appraisal Tool

Critical appraisal (CA) is used to systematically assess research papers and to judge the reliability of the study being presented in the paper. CA also helps in assessing the worth and relevance of the study. There are many key areas to CA including assessing suitability of the study to answer the hypothesised question and the possibility of introducing bias into the study. Identifying these key areas in CA requires good reporting of the study, if the study is poorly reported the appraisal of suitability and bias becomes difficult.

The AXIS appraisal tool was developed for use in appraising observational cross-sectional studies. It is designed to address issues that are often apparent in cross-sectional studies and to aid the reader when assessing the quality of the study that they are appraising. The questions on the following pages are presented in the order that they should generally appear in a paper. The aim of the tool is to aid systematic interpretation of a cross-sectional study and to inform decisions about the quality of the study being appraised.

The appraisal tool comes with an explanatory help text which gives some background knowledge and explanation as to what the questions are asking. The explanations are designed to inform why the questions are important. Clicking on a question will automatically take you to the relevant section in the help text. The appraisal tool has areas to record a “yes”, “no” or “don’t know” answer for each question and there is room for short comments as well.