Study Design, Methods, subjects etc:
What approach has been used? e.g. case series, cross-sectional, cohort,
Was it appropriate and could it reasonably be expected to fulfil the objectives?
Cross refer to other teaching material in Epidemiology and Environmental
Risk Assessment etc as appropriate.
Study "Populations" and Sampling
Was the study "population" clearly defined?
Is it representative of the group from which it is drawn?
How satisfactory was its sampling?
How was the sample size chosen?
How has the information been obtained?
Have sources of data been clearly described?
Have they been validated?
Are they reproducible?
Could they have been biased?
Is quality control of collection of information mentioned?
Remember: even a review article should have a method; including criteria
for identifying, selecting, and evaluating original published work.
Are these appropriate?
How distinct from the cases were they?
Could there have been misclassification?
Has matching been carried out correctly?
How well was this 'speciated', (i.e. characterised as to its identity,
and other relevant co-exposures assessed) ?
How was it measured?
How well was it quantified?
Was it studied in such a way as to explore a possible exposure-response
Were they appropriate and necessary?
Could chance have been responsible for the results?
Remember that each paper is essentially unique - there may be special aspects
of methodology which may warrant focussed attention