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Economic Evaluations


This unit looks at the critical appraisal of economic evaluations. By the end of this unit you will:

1. Have a basic understanding of the key basic concepts needed to appraise an economic evaluation, in particular the following types of economic evaluation:

  • cost-effectiveness
  • cost-utility
  • cost-minimisation
  • cost-benefit
  • perspective
  • time horizon
  • discounting
  • sensitivity analysis
  • QALYs

2. Understand why it is important to look at incremental costs and benefits and be able to interpret Incremental Cost-Effectiveness Ratios (ICERs).

3. Know where to look for potential biases in an economic evaluation.

4. Have critically appraised an economic evaluation.


It is helpful to understand what constitutes good evidence of effectiveness prior to undertaking this module and we recommend that you complete the Randomised Controlled Trial and Systematic Review units first. You should start with the General Introduction to Critical Appraisal.


In this unit you will find:

  1. An introduction to the critical appraisal of economic evaluations. It will take you about an hour to complete this.
  2. A paper to read and critically appraise. This can take anywhere between 45 to 60 minutes, depending on how thorough you are.
  3. A CASP checklist to help you read the paper critically. You should read the whole paper using the CASP checklist on your own before consulting our answers.
  4. A guided critical appraisal of the same paper that you can work through to compare our answers with the answers you gave. NOTE: there can be more than one interpretation of some of the questions - the answers we give are only our opinion, not necessarily "The Truth". (If you think our answers are wrong do please email us by clicking here.)
  5. A CASP checklist with our answers that you can download.
  6. A quiz section with answers and feedback for you to test yourself. If you cannot access the quiz then please create an account or login.
  7. A selection of useful texts and resources you may wish to read to enhance your knowledge and understanding.

The components of this unit follow a logical sequence and you should work through them in the order they appear. You can test yourself with the quiz section before or after doing the unit depending on whether you want to check you baseline understanding, or your understanding after you have completed the unit.