Short courses


Critical Appraisal

  • 9:30am to 1pm
  • 2 days
  • 6 May 2022


This short course aims to improve your ability to critically appraise published research - a key skill for anyone involved in using and/or undertaking research.

You'll look at the importance of defining a meaningful research question, and the key factors involved in answering a research question in an efficient and valid way.

The topics covered will help you design your own research study and/or evaluate existing published material.

This course takes place online, over two mornings (9:30am to 1pm). 

This course is delivered by UCL's Centre for Applied Statistics Courses (CASC), part of the UCL Great Ormond Street Institute of Child Health (ICH).

Course content

You'll look at the following topics:

  • Defining a research question
  • Observational and experimental study designs
  • Sampling and randomisation
  • Bias and confounding
  • Research protocols, checklists and records
  • Competing study designs
  • Displays and analysis of data
  • Common pitfalls in analysis
  • Reporting of results
  • Validity of the results with respect to the research question

You'll have the opportunity to examine sample research design and appraisal checklists, and to apply the skills gained throughout the day via practical appraisal activities.

Pre-course reading

You'll be sent a research paper in advance of the course. You should read this paper in order to be able to participate fully in the final practical session.

Learning outcomes

By the end of this course you should be able to:

  • understand when critical appraisal might be useful
  • access relevant web resources and checklists
  • understand the strengths and limitations of checklists for appraisal
  • understand how to evaluate the analyses performed by others
  • identify the components of a research question
  • understand different approaches to addressing a defined research question and evaluate the use of these
  • recognise which statistical tests are appropriate in different situations


You can request a certificate of attendance for this course once you've completed it. Please send your request to ich.statscou@ucl.ac.uk

Include the following in your email:

  • the name of the completed course for which you'd like a certificate
  • how you'd like your name presented on the certificate (if the name/format differs from the details you gave during registration)

Cost and concessions

The fees are as follows:

  • External delegates (non UCL) - £150
  • UCL staff, students, alumni - £75*
  • ICH/GOSH staff and students - free

* valid UCL email address and/or UCL alumni number required upon registration


Read the cancellation policy for this course on the ICH website. Please send all cancellation requests directly to the course administrator

Find out about other statistics courses

CASC's stats courses are for anyone requiring an understanding of research methodology and statistical analyses. The courses will allow non-statisticians to interpret published research and/or undertake their own research studies.

Find out more about CASC's full range of statistics courses, and the continuing statistics training scheme (book six one-day courses and get a seventh free.) 

Course team

Professor Angie Wade - Course Lead

Professor Angie Wade - Course Lead

Angie, Director of the Centre for Applied Statistics Courses (CASC), has been involved in the provision of statistical training to medically based non-statisticians for 25 years. She has a first class Bachelor’s degree in Mathematics and a Master's degree in Applied Statistics from UCL, and a PhD Statistics in the development of likelihood based models for the construction of covariate-related centiles. She joined GOS ICH in 1990, began the development of CASC in 2008 and was ICH’s first teaching professor. She's an active member of local teaching committees, previously chaired an MSc examination board and is currently a member of the UCL Academic Board Education Committee.

Dr Dean Langan - Course Lead

Dr Dean Langan - Course Lead

Dean is a Senior Teaching Fellow in CASC. He has a Bachelor’s degree in Mathematics from University of Liverpool, a Master's degree in Medical Statistics from University of Leicester, and a PhD from University of York for his research in statistical methods for random-effects meta-analysis. He's worked as a statistician on a number of clinical trials related to stroke and myeloma at the Clinical Trials Research Unit in Leeds. His specialist areas include statistical methods for meta-analysis, R programming, clinical trial methodology and research design.

Learner reviews

"Thank for all efforts [...]. I think this kind of course provides good opportunities to the clinicians to learn statistics, design new studies, interpretation of the results and will improve their research skills."

"Good course to attend."

"Very informative and well presented course."

Course information last modified: 26 Jan 2022, 09:17