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MHA 801 Professional Development Seminar 1 (Professor Armbrust): Appraise

This library tutorial will help you to successfully complete your critical appraisal assignment.

Once you locate your peer-reviewed journal article from the primary literature, it's time to evaluate it. This page will walk you through key pieces of information you'll likely see when you locate a journal article so that you are well equipped to critically appraise it.

While each database's interface is slightly unique and might display an article's record slightly differently, there is information that you will commonly find. In the image below, you'll see the name of the journal at the top (you can usually hover over it to get the full title - the example below is from the American Journal of Public Health), along with the publication date, journal issue and volume numbers, pages, and digital object identifier (DOI). All of this information is necessary for a complete APA citation.

Next you'll see the title of the article, followed by a list of the authors and the abstract. 

The abstract summarizes the article and is sometimes broken into helpful sections like the introduction, methods, results, and conclusion. Read the article in its entirety for more detail on specific aspects of methodology, sampling and data analysis, interpretation of results, the authors' discussion, and more. There is typically a link to download a PDF of the article for saving and easier reading.


front cover of journal article