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A helpful resource for nursing students regarding databases, best practices, and citations.

The most recent version of the John's Hopkins Appraisal Tools are available within the licensed ebook (St. Catherine University login and password required)

Dang, D., Dearholt, S., Bissett, K., Ascenzi, J., & Whalen, M. (2022). Johns Hopkins evidence-based practice for nurses and healthcare professionals : Model and guidelines (4th ed.). Sigma Theta Tau International.

Appendix E: Research Evidence Appraisal Tool (Levels I-III including Qualitative, Quantitative and Mixed Methods) 

Use this tool to appraise:

Level I

  • Experimental study, randomized controlled trial (RCT)
  • Explanatory mixed methods design that includes only a Level I quantitative study
  • Systematic review of RCTs, with or without meta-analysis

Level II

  • Quasi-experimental study
  • Explanatory mixed methods design that includes only a Level II quantitative study
  • Systematic review of a combination of RCTs and quasi-experimental studies, or quasi-experimental studies only, with or without meta-analysis

Level III

  • Nonexperimental study
  • Systematic review of a combination of RCTs, quasi-experimental and nonexperimental studies, or nonexperimental studies only, with or without meta-analysis.
  • Exploratory, convergent, or multiphasic mixed methods studies
  • Explanatory mixed methods design that includes only a Level III quantitative study
  • Qualitative study
  • Systematic review of qualitative studies with or without meta-synthesis

Appendix F: Non-Research Appraisal Tool (Levels IV-V)

Use this tool to appraise: 

Level IV: Opinion of respected authorities and/or nationally recognized expert committees or consensus panels based on scientific evidence. 

  • Clinical practice guidelines
  • Consensus panels/position statements

Level V: Based on experiential and non-research evidence. 

  • Scoping reviews
  • Integrative reviews
  • Literature reviews
  • Quality improvement, program or financial evaluation
  • Case reports
  • Opinion of nationally recognized expert(s) based on experiential evidence

Evidence Summary Table/Matrix

  • Organize the relevant articles using a spreadsheet or table.
  • As you create your own matrix, choose column headings that support your research question and goals. If using the John's Hopkins appraisal tool, Appendix G: Individual Summary Tool provides a detailed example of this matrix. 
  • Most article matrices will have the same first three column headings: (1) authors, title, and journal OR full citation (2) publication year, and (3) purpose.
Authors, title, journal
Year pub
Methodological Design
Sample Size
G., S. A., & Patil, N.  Effectiveness of Massage Therapy as an Adjunct to Kangaroo Mother Care on Physiological and Behavioural Status of Low Birth Weight Preterm Infants. Indian Journal Of Physiotherapy & Occupational Therapy
To study the effect of massage therapy as an adjunct to kangaroo mother care on physiological and behavioral status of low birth weight infants.
Comparative study was conducted with a convenience sample of patients in the NICU
LBW infants < 37 wks
-medically stable
40 total
20 control
20 treatment
Treament: 15 min KMC and Massage, 2x daily for 15 days
15 min KMC, 2X daily for 15 days
Pre (day 1) and post (day 15) measures of heart rate, respiratory rate, oxygen saturation, temperature and neonatal behavioural assessment scale showed statistically significant differences in all measures between the treatment and control groups.


Additional columns might include:

  • Methodology - the study method and design are often important for comparing and synthesizing studies.
  • Content-specific- specific output measures studied, relevant statistics, theoretical models, population variables, study limitations or variations.
  • Geographical - it may be important to note where the research was completed.
  • Appraisal Information- the level and grade of evidence (if applicable) determined in article appraisal


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