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Acad Radiol. 2012 Jul;19(7):872-88. doi: 10.1016/j.acra.2012.02.005. Epub 2012 Apr 3.

How to write a critically appraised topic (CAT).

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  • 1Division of Cardiothoracic Radiology, Department of Radiology, University of Michigan Health System, University of Michigan B1 132G Taubman Center/5302, 1500 East Medical Center, Ann Arbor, MI 48109-5302, USA.


Medical knowledge and the volume of scientific articles published have expanded rapidly over the past 50 years. Evidence-based practice (EBP) has developed to help health practitioners get more benefit from the increasing volume of information to solve complex health problems. A format for sharing information in EBP is the critically appraised topic (CAT). A CAT is a standardized summary of research evidence organized around a clinical question, aimed at providing both a critique of the research and a statement of the clinical relevance of results. In this review, we explain the five steps involved in writing a CAT for a clinical purpose ("Ask," "Search," "Appraise," "Apply," and "Evaluate") and introduce some of the useful electronic resources available to help in creating CATs.

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