The QATSDD critical appraisal tool: comments and critiques

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Rationale, aims and objectives

The aim of this research note is to reflect on the effectiveness of the QATSDD tool for its intended use in critical appraisals of synthesis work such as integrative reviews.


A seven-member research team undertook a critical appraisal of qualitative and quantitative studies using the QATSDD.

Results and Conclusion

We believe that the tool can spur useful dialogue among researchers and increase in-depth understanding of reviewed papers, including the strengths and limitations of the literature. To increase the clarity of the process, we suggest further definition of the language in each indicator and inclusion of explicit examples for each criterion. We would also like to see the authors outline clear parameters around the use of the tool, essentially stating that the tool should be used in synthesis work for studies of mixed methods or work that includes qualitative and quantitative research informed by a positivist paradigm. In the context of an appropriate team composition, the tool can be a useful mechanism for guiding people who are coming together to discuss the merits of studies across multiple methodologies and disciplines.

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