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Table 3 Critical appraisal criteria to assess studies in the full text stage

From: Do small protected habitat patches within boreal production forests provide value for biodiversity conservation? A systematic review protocol





Study design

Experimental studies (includes also quasi-experimental studies)

Observational studies

Case studies (descriptive studies)


 Large sample size

Sampling method suitable for the population of interesta

Properly conducted randomisation.

Control and intervention areas matched

 Small to medium sample size

Sampling method suitable for the population of interesta

Control and intervention areas comparable based on their ecological characteristics

Sampling method not suitable for collecting data on the population of interesta

Accounting for heterogeneity and potential effect modifiers

Effect modifiers identified, and data collected on them

Effect modifiers identified and considered in relation to the results

Effect modifiers not identified or considered

Data analysis methods

Methods appropriateb

Methods appropriateb

Methods not appropriateb

  1. aSuitable sampling method refers to the use of methods that are known to work for the population in question based on published studies, e.g. flying insects are sampled by trapping or fogging, not by cutting branches
  2. bAppropriate methods refer to the use of statistical methods that consider data characteristics such as sample size and distribution. For example, non-parametric statistical tests are used for data that does not follow normal distribution