Skip to main content


Table 3 The “6Qs” of a method for appraising the quality of normative literature

From: How to tackle the conundrum of quality appraisal in systematic reviews of normative literature/information? Analysing the problems of three possible strategies (translation of a German paper)

What (Element of evaluation, type of normative information)
 • Individual pieces of normative information (individual conclusion, individual argument, individual concept etc.)
 • Whole line of argument (may be identical to part or the whole of the text)
 • Part of the text (paragraph, chapter)
 • Complete text (article, book chapter)
Which (Type of text)
 • Normative ethical text (philosophical)
 • Empirical text
 • Guideline text
 • Jurisprudential/legal text
Where (Methodological procedure/step)
 • As part of the criteria for including or excluding a text (selection)
 • Separate appraisal following the inclusion of the text
 • Appraising the units of analysis (analysis)
 • Appraising the findings (synthesis)
How (Criteria, method)
 • Explicit decision not to carry out a quality appraisal
 • Reporting criteria
 • (Procedural) quality assurance criteria (peer-review process etc.)
 • Content-related quality criteria (e.g. appraisal of individual arguments)
Whereby (Process)
 • Individual researcher
 • Individual researcher reviewed by other researcher
 • Several researchers in a consensus-driven process
 • Several researchers with a comparison of their ratings
Who (Disciplinary/methodological background)
 • Primarily philosophical background
 • Background primarily in the type of normative literature (e.g. law in legal literature)
 • Background primarily in systematic review methodology
 • No specific background (method needs to/can be learned)