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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

Factor Low Medium High
Study design Experimental studies (includes also quasi-experimental studies) Observational studies Case studies (descriptive studies)
Sampling  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