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Unit of study_

CLTR5000: Critical Appraisal of Evidence

2021 unit information

The candidate will develop the skills necessary to synthesize evidence both in preparation for conducting a trial and how to incorporate trial results into existing evidence. This will include being able to conduct a systematic review of the literature, including understanding how to appropriately assess evidence. The principles of meta-analysis to combine the results of multiple trials will also be examined as well as the interpretation of these results and how they can be used in clinical practice guideline development. As part of the critical appraisal of available evidence, different patient outcomes and the corresponding summary endpoint measures will be examined. Additionally the sources of biases arising from different trial designs and outcome measures will be covered and incorporated as part of the critical appraisal of available evidence (including published papers).

Unit details and rules

Managing faculty or University school:

NHMRC Clinical Trials Centre

Code CLTR5000
Academic unit NHMRC Clinical Trials Centre
Credit points 6
Assumed knowledge:

At the completion of this unit, you should be able to:

  • LO1. understand why summarising the existing evidence is necessary both before planning, and after conducting, a clinical trial
  • LO2. understand how and why a systematic review is ‘systematic’
  • LO3. understand why we need systematic reviews and how they can be used
  • LO4. understand and identify types of potential biases that can be present in clinical trials, including selection bias, performance bias, attrition bias, detection bias, reporting bias (publication bias, foreign language bias, selective outcome reporting bias, duplication bias, etc)
  • LO5. calculate odds ratios, relative risks, risk differences and number needed to treat
  • LO6. express summary measures in words
  • LO7. understand the difference between absolute and relative effect measures
  • LO8. understand and correctly interpret a 95% confidence interval
  • LO9. calculate means, standard deviations, medians and inter-quartile ranges
  • LO10. apply appropriate measures of effect to different data types
  • LO11. understand how to assess the validity and applicability of evidence, including a critical appraisal of a clinical trial and a critical appraisal of a systematic review
  • LO12. formulate an appropriate research question
  • LO13. create an appropriate search strategy and search to identify potential articles to answer the research question
  • LO14. assess the quality of included trials
  • LO15. extract the required summary data
  • LO16. combine the results of several trials and performing a meta-analysis (including when/why/how to use fixed vs random effects models, subgroup analysis, sensitivity analysis)
  • LO17. interpret the results of a systematic review by understanding forest plots and assessing heterogeneity
  • LO18. understand why results from systematic reviews and large RCTs addressing the same question may differ
  • LO19. Understand how systematic reviews are used in clinical practice guidelines and health technology assessments.

Unit availability

This section lists the session, attendance modes and locations the unit is available in. There is a unit outline for each of the unit availabilities, which gives you information about the unit including assessment details and a schedule of weekly activities.

The outline is published 2 weeks before the first day of teaching. You can look at previous outlines for a guide to the details of a unit.

There are no availabilities for this year.
Session MoA ?  Location Outline ? 
Semester 1 2020
Online Camperdown/Darlington, Sydney
Semester 1 2021
Online Camperdown/Darlington, Sydney

Modes of attendance (MoA)

This refers to the Mode of attendance (MoA) for the unit as it appears when you’re selecting your units in Sydney Student. Find more information about modes of attendance on our website.