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What are FLC Tools?

A systematic review is a slow and arduous process, because it requires detailed appraisal of all the articles found and selected on the subject of interest, assessment of the quality of the articles and compilation of the relevant data from each study in a table called an “evidence table”.

Osteba (Basque Oficce Health Technology Assessment) has developed methodological instruments called FLC Tools to facilitate this process of Critical Appraisal and to synthesise the scientific evidence for researchers involved in a systematic review.

What are FLCs used for?

Systematic reviews of scientific literature provide a synthesis of the necessary information for decision-making.

What are Critical Reading Sheets (FLCs)?

Within the systematic review process, the Critical Appraisal of evidence allows us to analyse the quality or validity of scientific evidence.

The quality of evidence or the quality of scientific studies is understood as confidence in the fact that the potential biases in the structure of a study have been properly indicated and that the results and recommendations are valid, both internally and externally.

The importance of considering the quality of studies when synthesising information for decision-making stems from the fact that taking action based on invalid or incorrect scientific evidence is probably worse than acting without evidence.

The critical appraisal process involves not only an assessment of the most important methodological aspects, but it also requires a detailed analysis of the aspects that contribute to the validity of a study.

The Osteba FLCs therefore seek to provide tools that allow scientific evidence to be put into a hierarchical structure according to its methodological rigour.