MetaQAT – Critical Appraisal Tool

The MetaQAT is a meta-tool for appraising public health evidence that orients users to the appropriate application of several critical appraisal tools and places them within a larger framework to guide their use. It is one of few critical appraisal tools designed specifically for public health evidence.

Appraisal framework for assessing public health evidence using the MetaQat tool including: relevancy, reliability, validity and applicability

Assess quality and detailed bias within public health evidence using the PHO MetaQAT, which includes:

  • background document
  • user guide
  • fillable form
  • links to companion tools
Download PHO MetaQAT

Fitting the MetaQAT to your Project

There are many right ways to use the MetaQAT. The tool is designed to be flexible and can be customized to your project.

The MetaQAT provides:

  1. a framework for assessing quality
  2. direction to existing tools for detailed bias assessment
  3. templates to document the process

There are three main ways to tailor the MetaQAT content:

  • alter the prompting questions under the main questions (not the main questions themselves) to suit your project
  • add prompting questions to 3. b) - the bias question - based on companion tool content
  • skip the relevancy step if you are screening items using formal screening criteria

The Reliability, Validity, and Applicability domains should always be included and addressed, as should all of the main questions within each domain.


Rosella L, Bowman C, Pach B, Morgan S, Fitzpatrick T, Goel V. The development and validation of a meta-tool for quality appraisal of public health evidence: Meta Quality Appraisal Tool (MetaQAT). Public Health. 2016;136:57-65. Available from:

MetaQAT Update

Under the leadership of PHO Scientist Dr. Laura Rosella, a renewal of the MetaQAT is underway to incorporate additional companion tools for more study types and updated companion tools now available. If you would like to suggest a companion tool for the next edition of the MetaQAT, please contact


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Updated 22 Oct 2019