Understanding GRADE: An introduction
Objective: Grading of recommendations, assessment, development, and evaluations (GRADE) is arguably the most widely used method for appraising studies to be included in systematic reviews and guidelines. In order to use the GRADE system or know how to interpret it when reading reviews, reading several articles and attending a workshop are required. Moreover, the GRADE system is not covered in standard medical textbooks. Here, we explain GRADE concisely with the use of examples so that students and other researchers can understand it. Background: In order to use or interpret the GRADE system, reading several articles and attending a workshop is currently required. Moreover, the GRADE system is not covered in standard medical textbooks. Methods: We read, synthesized, and digested the GRADE publications and contacted GRADE contributors for explanations where required. We composed a digested version of the system in a concise way a general medical audience could understand. Results: We were able to explain the GRADE basics clearly and completely in under 1500 words. Conclusions: While advanced critical appraisal requires judgment, training, and practice, it is possible for a non-specialist to grasp GRADE basics very quickly. © 2013 Wiley Publishing Asia Pty Ltd and Chinese Cochrane Center, West China Hospital of Sichuan University.