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Table 2 Critical appraisal criteria established on the basis of the framework proposed by Vandenberg et al. [37] and the knowledge of the experts in the review team (C stands for Control, E for Exposed, B for Before, A for After, and N/A for non-applicable)

From: Estimating ecotoxicological effects of chemicals on tropical reef-building corals; a systematic review protocol

Source of bias Criteria Low risk of bias Medium risk of bias High risk of bias
Experimental design What is the experimental design? CE
BA
BACE
  Unknown
Is the experiment replicated (at least one replicate; a replicate is not exposed to water in contact with the other replicates) Yes No
Unknown (assumed to be No)
 
Exposure If a solvent is used, is a solvent control present? Yes
N/A
No
Unknown (assumed to be No)
 
Have effective exposure concentrations been measured? Yes No
Unknown (assumed to be No)
 
Selection Are there differences at baseline between groups C and E? (including difference in exposure environment, difference in biological model, difference in the set of individuals allocated to each group) No
N/A (for BA design)
Yes but the effect is controlled and null
For in situ studies: yes but an attempt to minimize differences is made
Yes (detail)
Unknown (assumed to be Yes)
Performance Are there differences in the way groups C and E (or B and A) are treated throughout the experiment? No   Yes (detail)
Unknown (assumed to be Yes)
Detection Are there differences in the way the outcomes of groups C and E (or B and A) are assessed? No   Yes (detail)
Unknown (assumed to be Yes)
Exclusion Are there differences in the way groups C and E (or B and A) are removed from the study? No   Yes (detail)
Unknown (assumed to be Yes)
Other Is there another source of bias? (e.g., reporting bias, insufficient description of the methods, an unforeseen event that occurred during the experiment) No Yes minor (detail) Yes major (detail)