CRITICAL APPRAISAL and epidemiology

Purpose of this website

10% of the questions in the Applied Knowledge Test (AKT) part of the MRCGP relate to critical appraisal, statistics and epidemiology. This site is a collection of resources to try and help you understand the core knowledge that is required to do well in this section of the AKT. The content is based  on the requirements as listed on the MRCGP AKT site and also some self-test material devloped by NES. There is a list of the terms listed under statistical terminology, also guidance on some basic epidemiology concepts and basic critical apprsaisal. This element of the AKT is designed to examine the candidate’s ability to use evidence and data to underpin clinical decision-making, and the possession of criticial appraisal skills sufficient to recognise good evidence and adopt guidelines as appropriate. New! An excellent guide to basic statistics for Drs covering all of the essential topics has been made available by Danny Hamilton. Click here. Animations, guidance and self tests are given in the Critical appraisal and epidemiology pages. If you would like anything added please email suggestions to

Research Design

Qualitative research and quantitative research: see the Study design page Difference in forms of research and when each is appropriate Techniques such as pilot studies, questionnaire design, field observations, interviews, focus groups and analysis of transcripts of narrative material ,             ethnography and observation, action research, case study; consensus methods such as Delphi or nominal groups. The hierarchy of design and the advantages and disadvantages of study designs including: systematic reviews and meta-analysis; experimental: randomised controlled double blind quasi-experimental: non-randomised control group; observational: cohort (prospective, retrospective), case-control, cross-sectional The most appropriate research design to examine the hypothesis proposed in prospective and retrospective studies: the limitations and strengths of research methodologies knowledge of the “hierarchy of evidence” ranging from case reports through case-control and             cohort studies to randomised controlled trials and systematic reviews and meta-analyses.