Available Until 12/31/2024

Critical Appraisal for Librarians: Evaluating Randomized Controlled Trials (Recording)

Randomized controlled trials (RCTs) are among the most important study types used to answer clinical and systematic review questions. But not all RCT studies are good enough to share with clinicians or include in reviews. This webinar will give you tools to evaluate the quality of RCT studies.

You will learn how to apply RCT validity criteria, spot bias, critique study methodologies, calculate basic results, interpret results, and clearly communicate the meaning and value of RCT studies to patients and clinicians.

You will learn though a case study, and you will practice applying evaluation concepts to a published article and be able to share your evaluations during the webinar.

You will leave with new skills in reading and evaluating RCT studies and increased confidence in your ability to contribute to evidence-based medicine (EBM). #MLACritical

“Critical Appraisal” is a companion to Critical Contributions: Developing Research Appraisal Skills at Your Institution, and the recorded webinars that are part of the Critical Appraisal Webinar Series.

Learning Outcomes

By the end of this webinar, participants will be able to:

  • describe trial methodologies that affect bias in study results
  • apply validity criteria to real articles
  • interpret and calculate basic results from RCTs, including event and control rates, absolute risk reduction, and number needed to treat


All medical librarians and other health information professionals with some understanding of evidence-based practice (e.g., of patient or problem, intervention, comparison, outcome [PICO]). This session is an excellent introduction to or refresher for critical appraisal skills.


Megan von Isenburg, AHIP

Megan von Isenburg, AHIP, is associate dean for library services and archives at the Duke University School of Medicine, Durham, NC, co-director of the EBM course for medical students, and adjunct faculty at the University of North Carolina (UNC)−Chapel Hill School of Information and Library Science, where she co-teaches the “Evidence-Based Practice and the Medical Librarian” online course with Cantrell.

Sarah Cantrell

Sarah Cantrell is the associate director for research and education at the Duke University Medical Center Library & Archives, liaison to the Graduate Medical Education programs at Duke Health, and co-director for Duke’s national EBM workshop for clinicians and librarians, and adjunct faculty at the UNC−Chapel Hill School of Information and Library Science, where she co-teaches the “Evidence-Based Practice and the Medical Librarian” online course with von Isenburg.