7.1. Critical appraisal of systematic reviews


From the several instruments available to assess methodological quality of reviews (1); KCE recommends the use of AMSTAR 2 (2) that takes into account RCT but also non RCT studies.

An alternative is the ROBINS-tool which is more comprehensive for non randomized studies. (3)



(1) See among other overviews

(2) Shea Beverley J, Reeves Barnaby C, Wells George, Thuku Micere, Hamel Candyce, Moran Julian et al. AMSTAR 2: a critical appraisal tool for systematic reviews that include randomised or non-randomised studies of healthcare interventions, or both BMJ 2017; 358 :j4008 

(3) Whiting P, Savovic J, Higgins JP, Caldwell DM, Reeves BC, Shea B, et al. ROBIS: A new tool to assess risk of bias in systematic reviews was developed. J Clin Epidemiol. 2016;69:225-34.



[Update 20180126] AMSTAR 2 replaces AMSTAR in the toolbox

AMSTAR 2 aims at responding to AMSTAR's criticisms, among others the fact that AMSTAR does not cover non RCT studies. 


[Update] Dutch Cochrane checklist removed from the toolbox

KCE experts initially selected 2 checklists for quality appraisal: AMSTAR and the Dutch Cochrane checklist. However, the Dutch Cochrane tool is not used anymore by its authors and was never formally validated. It has thus been removed from the toolbox.

KCEProcessbook_Amstar2-checklist.docx47.91 KB