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3 ways to contact dr. oz, 4 ways to determine the rental cost of a property, 3 simple ways to move a treadmill, 3 ways to make car loan payments, 4 ways to buy abandoned storage units, 3 ways to fold a brochure, 3 ways to go go dance, 4 ways to help your girlfriend with depression, how to install adobe fonts: 6 steps, how to write an article review (with sample reviews)  .

example of a quantitative article review

An article review is a critical evaluation of a scholarly or scientific piece, which aims to summarize its main ideas, assess its contributions, and provide constructive feedback. A well-written review not only benefits the author of the article under scrutiny but also serves as a valuable resource for fellow researchers and scholars. Follow these steps to create an effective and informative article review:

1. Understand the purpose: Before diving into the article, it is important to understand the intent of writing a review. This helps in focusing your thoughts, directing your analysis, and ensuring your review adds value to the academic community.

2. Read the article thoroughly: Carefully read the article multiple times to get a complete understanding of its content, arguments, and conclusions. As you read, take notes on key points, supporting evidence, and any areas that require further exploration or clarification.

3. Summarize the main ideas: In your review’s introduction, briefly outline the primary themes and arguments presented by the author(s). Keep it concise but sufficiently informative so that readers can quickly grasp the essence of the article.

4. Evaluate the strengths and weaknesses: In subsequent paragraphs, assess the strengths and limitations of the article based on factors such as methodology, quality of evidence presented, coherence of arguments, and alignment with existing literature in the field. Be fair and objective while providing your critique.

5. Discuss any implications: Deliberate on how this particular piece contributes to or challenges existing knowledge in its discipline. You may also discuss potential improvements for future research or explore real-world applications stemming from this study.

6. Provide recommendations: Finally, offer suggestions for both the author(s) and readers regarding how they can further build on this work or apply its findings in practice.

7. Proofread and revise: Once your initial draft is complete, go through it carefully for clarity, accuracy, and coherence. Revise as necessary, ensuring your review is both informative and engaging for readers.

Sample Review:

A Critical Review of “The Effects of Social Media on Mental Health”


“The Effects of Social Media on Mental Health” is a timely article which investigates the relationship between social media usage and psychological well-being. The authors present compelling evidence to support their argument that excessive use of social media can result in decreased self-esteem, increased anxiety, and a negative impact on interpersonal relationships.

Strengths and weaknesses:

One of the strengths of this article lies in its well-structured methodology utilizing a variety of sources, including quantitative surveys and qualitative interviews. This approach provides a comprehensive view of the topic, allowing for a more nuanced understanding of the effects of social media on mental health. However, it would have been beneficial if the authors included a larger sample size to increase the reliability of their conclusions. Additionally, exploring how different platforms may influence mental health differently could have added depth to the analysis.


The findings in this article contribute significantly to ongoing debates surrounding the psychological implications of social media use. It highlights the potential dangers that excessive engagement with online platforms may pose to one’s mental well-being and encourages further research into interventions that could mitigate these risks. The study also offers an opportunity for educators and policy-makers to take note and develop strategies to foster healthier online behavior.


Future researchers should consider investigating how specific social media platforms impact mental health outcomes, as this could lead to more targeted interventions. For practitioners, implementing educational programs aimed at promoting healthy online habits may be beneficial in mitigating the potential negative consequences associated with excessive social media use.


Overall, “The Effects of Social Media on Mental Health” is an important and informative piece that raises awareness about a pressing issue in today’s digital age. Given its minor limitations, it provides valuable

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How to Write an Article Review

Last Updated: September 8, 2023 Fact Checked

This article was co-authored by Jake Adams . Jake Adams is an academic tutor and the owner of Simplifi EDU, a Santa Monica, California based online tutoring business offering learning resources and online tutors for academic subjects K-College, SAT & ACT prep, and college admissions applications. With over 14 years of professional tutoring experience, Jake is dedicated to providing his clients the very best online tutoring experience and access to a network of excellent undergraduate and graduate-level tutors from top colleges all over the nation. Jake holds a BS in International Business and Marketing from Pepperdine University. There are 13 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page. This article has been fact-checked, ensuring the accuracy of any cited facts and confirming the authority of its sources. This article has been viewed 3,082,094 times.

An article review is both a summary and an evaluation of another writer's article. Teachers often assign article reviews to introduce students to the work of experts in the field. Experts also are often asked to review the work of other professionals. Understanding the main points and arguments of the article is essential for an accurate summation. Logical evaluation of the article's main theme, supporting arguments, and implications for further research is an important element of a review . Here are a few guidelines for writing an article review.

Education specialist Alexander Peterman recommends: "In the case of a review, your objective should be to reflect on the effectiveness of what has already been written, rather than writing to inform your audience about a subject."

Things You Should Know

  • Read the article very closely, and then take time to reflect on your evaluation. Consider whether the article effectively achieves what it set out to.
  • Write out a full article review by completing your intro, summary, evaluation, and conclusion. Don't forget to add a title, too!
  • Proofread your review for mistakes (like grammar and usage), while also cutting down on needless information. [1] X Research source

Preparing to Write Your Review

Step 1 Understand what an article review is.

  • Article reviews present more than just an opinion. You will engage with the text to create a response to the scholarly writer's ideas. You will respond to and use ideas, theories, and research from your studies. Your critique of the article will be based on proof and your own thoughtful reasoning.
  • An article review only responds to the author's research. It typically does not provide any new research. However, if you are correcting misleading or otherwise incorrect points, some new data may be presented.
  • An article review both summarizes and evaluates the article.

Step 2 Think about the organization of the review article.

  • Summarize the article. Focus on the important points, claims, and information.
  • Discuss the positive aspects of the article. Think about what the author does well, good points she makes, and insightful observations.
  • Identify contradictions, gaps, and inconsistencies in the text. Determine if there is enough data or research included to support the author's claims. Find any unanswered questions left in the article.

Step 3 Preview the article.

  • Make note of words or issues you don't understand and questions you have.
  • Look up terms or concepts you are unfamiliar with, so you can fully understand the article. Read about concepts in-depth to make sure you understand their full context.

Step 4 Read the article closely.

  • Pay careful attention to the meaning of the article. Make sure you fully understand the article. The only way to write a good article review is to understand the article.

Step 5 Put the article into your words.

  • With either method, make an outline of the main points made in the article and the supporting research or arguments. It is strictly a restatement of the main points of the article and does not include your opinions.
  • After putting the article in your own words, decide which parts of the article you want to discuss in your review. You can focus on the theoretical approach, the content, the presentation or interpretation of evidence, or the style. You will always discuss the main issues of the article, but you can sometimes also focus on certain aspects. This comes in handy if you want to focus the review towards the content of a course.
  • Review the summary outline to eliminate unnecessary items. Erase or cross out the less important arguments or supplemental information. Your revised summary can serve as the basis for the summary you provide at the beginning of your review.

Step 6 Write an outline of your evaluation.

  • What does the article set out to do?
  • What is the theoretical framework or assumptions?
  • Are the central concepts clearly defined?
  • How adequate is the evidence?
  • How does the article fit into the literature and field?
  • Does it advance the knowledge of the subject?
  • How clear is the author's writing? Don't: include superficial opinions or your personal reaction. Do: pay attention to your biases, so you can overcome them.

Writing the Article Review

Step 1 Come up with...

  • For example, in MLA , a citation may look like: Duvall, John N. "The (Super)Marketplace of Images: Television as Unmediated Mediation in DeLillo's White Noise ." Arizona Quarterly 50.3 (1994): 127-53. Print. [10] X Trustworthy Source Purdue Online Writing Lab Trusted resource for writing and citation guidelines Go to source

Step 3 Identify the article.

  • For example: The article, "Condom use will increase the spread of AIDS," was written by Anthony Zimmerman, a Catholic priest.

Step 4 Write the introduction....

  • Your introduction should only be 10-25% of your review.
  • End the introduction with your thesis. Your thesis should address the above issues. For example: Although the author has some good points, his article is biased and contains some misinterpretation of data from others’ analysis of the effectiveness of the condom.

Step 5 Summarize the article.

  • Use direct quotes from the author sparingly.
  • Review the summary you have written. Read over your summary many times to ensure that your words are an accurate description of the author's article.

Step 6 Write your critique.

  • Support your critique with evidence from the article or other texts.
  • The summary portion is very important for your critique. You must make the author's argument clear in the summary section for your evaluation to make sense.
  • Remember, this is not where you say if you liked the article or not. You are assessing the significance and relevance of the article.
  • Use a topic sentence and supportive arguments for each opinion. For example, you might address a particular strength in the first sentence of the opinion section, followed by several sentences elaborating on the significance of the point.

Step 7 Conclude the article review.

  • This should only be about 10% of your overall essay.
  • For example: This critical review has evaluated the article "Condom use will increase the spread of AIDS" by Anthony Zimmerman. The arguments in the article show the presence of bias, prejudice, argumentative writing without supporting details, and misinformation. These points weaken the author’s arguments and reduce his credibility.

Step 8 Proofread.

  • Make sure you have identified and discussed the 3-4 key issues in the article.

Sample Article Reviews

example of a quantitative article review

Expert Q&A

Jake Adams

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About This Article

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If you have to write an article review, read through the original article closely, taking notes and highlighting important sections as you read. Next, rewrite the article in your own words, either in a long paragraph or as an outline. Open your article review by citing the article, then write an introduction which states the article’s thesis. Next, summarize the article, followed by your opinion about whether the article was clear, thorough, and useful. Finish with a paragraph that summarizes the main points of the article and your opinions. To learn more about what to include in your personal critique of the article, keep reading the article! Did this summary help you? Yes No

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Writing a Literature Review

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A literature review is a document or section of a document that collects key sources on a topic and discusses those sources in conversation with each other (also called synthesis ). The lit review is an important genre in many disciplines, not just literature (i.e., the study of works of literature such as novels and plays). When we say “literature review” or refer to “the literature,” we are talking about the research ( scholarship ) in a given field. You will often see the terms “the research,” “the scholarship,” and “the literature” used mostly interchangeably.

Where, when, and why would I write a lit review?

There are a number of different situations where you might write a literature review, each with slightly different expectations; different disciplines, too, have field-specific expectations for what a literature review is and does. For instance, in the humanities, authors might include more overt argumentation and interpretation of source material in their literature reviews, whereas in the sciences, authors are more likely to report study designs and results in their literature reviews; these differences reflect these disciplines’ purposes and conventions in scholarship. You should always look at examples from your own discipline and talk to professors or mentors in your field to be sure you understand your discipline’s conventions, for literature reviews as well as for any other genre.

A literature review can be a part of a research paper or scholarly article, usually falling after the introduction and before the research methods sections. In these cases, the lit review just needs to cover scholarship that is important to the issue you are writing about; sometimes it will also cover key sources that informed your research methodology.

Lit reviews can also be standalone pieces, either as assignments in a class or as publications. In a class, a lit review may be assigned to help students familiarize themselves with a topic and with scholarship in their field, get an idea of the other researchers working on the topic they’re interested in, find gaps in existing research in order to propose new projects, and/or develop a theoretical framework and methodology for later research. As a publication, a lit review usually is meant to help make other scholars’ lives easier by collecting and summarizing, synthesizing, and analyzing existing research on a topic. This can be especially helpful for students or scholars getting into a new research area, or for directing an entire community of scholars toward questions that have not yet been answered.

What are the parts of a lit review?

Most lit reviews use a basic introduction-body-conclusion structure; if your lit review is part of a larger paper, the introduction and conclusion pieces may be just a few sentences while you focus most of your attention on the body. If your lit review is a standalone piece, the introduction and conclusion take up more space and give you a place to discuss your goals, research methods, and conclusions separately from where you discuss the literature itself.


  • An introductory paragraph that explains what your working topic and thesis is
  • A forecast of key topics or texts that will appear in the review
  • Potentially, a description of how you found sources and how you analyzed them for inclusion and discussion in the review (more often found in published, standalone literature reviews than in lit review sections in an article or research paper)
  • Summarize and synthesize: Give an overview of the main points of each source and combine them into a coherent whole
  • Analyze and interpret: Don’t just paraphrase other researchers – add your own interpretations where possible, discussing the significance of findings in relation to the literature as a whole
  • Critically Evaluate: Mention the strengths and weaknesses of your sources
  • Write in well-structured paragraphs: Use transition words and topic sentence to draw connections, comparisons, and contrasts.


  • Summarize the key findings you have taken from the literature and emphasize their significance
  • Connect it back to your primary research question

How should I organize my lit review?

Lit reviews can take many different organizational patterns depending on what you are trying to accomplish with the review. Here are some examples:

  • Chronological : The simplest approach is to trace the development of the topic over time, which helps familiarize the audience with the topic (for instance if you are introducing something that is not commonly known in your field). If you choose this strategy, be careful to avoid simply listing and summarizing sources in order. Try to analyze the patterns, turning points, and key debates that have shaped the direction of the field. Give your interpretation of how and why certain developments occurred (as mentioned previously, this may not be appropriate in your discipline — check with a teacher or mentor if you’re unsure).
  • Thematic : If you have found some recurring central themes that you will continue working with throughout your piece, you can organize your literature review into subsections that address different aspects of the topic. For example, if you are reviewing literature about women and religion, key themes can include the role of women in churches and the religious attitude towards women.
  • Qualitative versus quantitative research
  • Empirical versus theoretical scholarship
  • Divide the research by sociological, historical, or cultural sources
  • Theoretical : In many humanities articles, the literature review is the foundation for the theoretical framework. You can use it to discuss various theories, models, and definitions of key concepts. You can argue for the relevance of a specific theoretical approach or combine various theorical concepts to create a framework for your research.

What are some strategies or tips I can use while writing my lit review?

Any lit review is only as good as the research it discusses; make sure your sources are well-chosen and your research is thorough. Don’t be afraid to do more research if you discover a new thread as you’re writing. More info on the research process is available in our "Conducting Research" resources .

As you’re doing your research, create an annotated bibliography ( see our page on the this type of document ). Much of the information used in an annotated bibliography can be used also in a literature review, so you’ll be not only partially drafting your lit review as you research, but also developing your sense of the larger conversation going on among scholars, professionals, and any other stakeholders in your topic.

Usually you will need to synthesize research rather than just summarizing it. This means drawing connections between sources to create a picture of the scholarly conversation on a topic over time. Many student writers struggle to synthesize because they feel they don’t have anything to add to the scholars they are citing; here are some strategies to help you:

  • It often helps to remember that the point of these kinds of syntheses is to show your readers how you understand your research, to help them read the rest of your paper.
  • Writing teachers often say synthesis is like hosting a dinner party: imagine all your sources are together in a room, discussing your topic. What are they saying to each other?
  • Look at the in-text citations in each paragraph. Are you citing just one source for each paragraph? This usually indicates summary only. When you have multiple sources cited in a paragraph, you are more likely to be synthesizing them (not always, but often
  • Read more about synthesis here.

The most interesting literature reviews are often written as arguments (again, as mentioned at the beginning of the page, this is discipline-specific and doesn’t work for all situations). Often, the literature review is where you can establish your research as filling a particular gap or as relevant in a particular way. You have some chance to do this in your introduction in an article, but the literature review section gives a more extended opportunity to establish the conversation in the way you would like your readers to see it. You can choose the intellectual lineage you would like to be part of and whose definitions matter most to your thinking (mostly humanities-specific, but this goes for sciences as well). In addressing these points, you argue for your place in the conversation, which tends to make the lit review more compelling than a simple reporting of other sources.

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Exploring the literature review 

Literature review model: 6 steps.

literature review process

Adapted from The Literature Review , Machi & McEvoy (2009, p. 13).

Your Literature Review

Step 2: search, boolean search strategies, search limiters, ★ ebsco & google drive.

Right arrow

1. Select a Topic

"All research begins with curiosity" (Machi & McEvoy, 2009, p. 14)

Selection of a topic, and fully defined research interest and question, is supervised (and approved) by your professor. Tips for crafting your topic include:

  • Be specific. Take time to define your interest.
  • Topic Focus. Fully describe and sufficiently narrow the focus for research.
  • Academic Discipline. Learn more about your area of research & refine the scope.
  • Avoid Bias. Be aware of bias that you (as a researcher) may have.
  • Document your research. Use Google Docs to track your research process.
  • Research apps. Consider using Evernote or Zotero to track your research.

Consider Purpose

What will your topic and research address?

In The Literature Review: A Step-by-Step Guide for Students , Ridley presents that literature reviews serve several purposes (2008, p. 16-17).  Included are the following points:

  • Historical background for the research;
  • Overview of current field provided by "contemporary debates, issues, and questions;"
  • Theories and concepts related to your research;
  • Introduce "relevant terminology" - or academic language - being used it the field;
  • Connect to existing research - does your work "extend or challenge [this] or address a gap;" 
  • Provide "supporting evidence for a practical problem or issue" that your research addresses.

★ Schedule a research appointment

At this point in your literature review, take time to meet with a librarian. Why? Understanding the subject terminology used in databases can be challenging. Archer Librarians can help you structure a search, preparing you for step two. How? Contact a librarian directly or use the online form to schedule an appointment. Details are provided in the adjacent Schedule an Appointment box.

2. Search the Literature

Collect & Select Data: Preview, select, and organize

Archer Library is your go-to resource for this step in your literature review process. The literature search will include books and ebooks, scholarly and practitioner journals, theses and dissertations, and indexes. You may also choose to include web sites, blogs, open access resources, and newspapers. This library guide provides access to resources needed to complete a literature review.

Books & eBooks: Archer Library & OhioLINK

Databases: scholarly & practitioner journals.

Review the Library Databases tab on this library guide, it provides links to recommended databases for Education & Psychology, Business, and General & Social Sciences.

Expand your journal search; a complete listing of available AU Library and OhioLINK databases is available on the Databases  A to Z list . Search the database by subject, type, name, or do use the search box for a general title search. The A to Z list also includes open access resources and select internet sites.

Databases: Theses & Dissertations

Review the Library Databases tab on this guide, it includes Theses & Dissertation resources. AU library also has AU student authored theses and dissertations available in print, search the library catalog for these titles.

Did you know? If you are looking for particular chapters within a dissertation that is not fully available online, it is possible to submit an ILL article request . Do this instead of requesting the entire dissertation.

Newspapers:  Databases & Internet

Consider current literature in your academic field. AU Library's database collection includes The Chronicle of Higher Education and The Wall Street Journal .  The Internet Resources tab in this guide provides links to newspapers and online journals such as Inside Higher Ed , COABE Journal , and Education Week .


Search Strategies & Boolean Operators

There are three basic boolean operators:  AND, OR, and NOT.

Used with your search terms, boolean operators will either expand or limit results. What purpose do they serve? They help to define the relationship between your search terms. For example, using the operator AND will combine the terms expanding the search. When searching some databases, and Google, the operator AND may be implied.

Overview of boolean terms

About the example: Boolean searches were conducted on November 4, 2019; result numbers may vary at a later date. No additional database limiters were set to further narrow search returns.

Database Search Limiters

Database strategies for targeted search results.

Most databases include limiters, or additional parameters, you may use to strategically focus search results.  EBSCO databases, such as Education Research Complete & Academic Search Complete provide options to:

  • Limit results to full text;
  • Limit results to scholarly journals, and reference available;
  • Select results source type to journals, magazines, conference papers, reviews, and newspapers
  • Publication date

Keep in mind that these tools are defined as limiters for a reason; adding them to a search will limit the number of results returned.  This can be a double-edged sword.  How? 

  • If limiting results to full-text only, you may miss an important piece of research that could change the direction of your research. Interlibrary loan is available to students, free of charge. Request articles that are not available in full-text; they will be sent to you via email.
  • If narrowing publication date, you may eliminate significant historical - or recent - research conducted on your topic.
  • Limiting resource type to a specific type of material may cause bias in the research results.

Use limiters with care. When starting a search, consider opting out of limiters until the initial literature screening is complete. The second or third time through your research may be the ideal time to focus on specific time periods or material (scholarly vs newspaper).

★ Truncating Search Terms

Expanding your search term at the root.

Truncating is often referred to as 'wildcard' searching. Databases may have their own specific wildcard elements however, the most commonly used are the asterisk (*) or question mark (?).  When used within your search. they will expand returned results.

Asterisk (*) Wildcard

Using the asterisk wildcard will return varied spellings of the truncated word. In the following example, the search term education was truncated after the letter "t."

Explore these database help pages for additional information on crafting search terms.

  • EBSCO Connect: Basic Searching with EBSCO
  • EBSCO Connect: Searching with Boolean Operators
  • EBSCO Connect: Searching with Wildcards and Truncation Symbols
  • ProQuest Help: Search Tips
  • ERIC: How does ERIC search work?

★ EBSCO Databases & Google Drive

Tips for saving research directly to Google drive.

Researching in an EBSCO database?

It is possible to save articles (PDF and HTML) and abstracts in EBSCOhost databases directly to Google drive. Select the Google Drive icon, authenticate using a Google account, and an EBSCO folder will be created in your account. This is a great option for managing your research. If documenting your research in a Google Doc, consider linking the information to actual articles saved in drive.

EBSCO Databases & Google Drive

EBSCOHost Databases & Google Drive: Managing your Research

This video features an overview of how to use Google Drive with EBSCO databases to help manage your research. It presents information for connecting an active Google account to EBSCO and steps needed to provide permission for EBSCO to manage a folder in Drive.

About the Video:  Closed captioning is available, select CC from the video menu.  If you need to review a specific area on the video, view on YouTube and expand the video description for access to topic time stamps.  A video transcript is provided below.

  • EBSCOhost Databases & Google Scholar

Defining Literature Review

What is a literature review.

A definition from the Online Dictionary for Library and Information Sciences .

A literature review is "a comprehensive survey of the works published in a particular field of study or line of research, usually over a specific period of time, in the form of an in-depth, critical bibliographic essay or annotated list in which attention is drawn to the most significant works" (Reitz, 2014). 

A systemic review is "a literature review focused on a specific research question, which uses explicit methods to minimize bias in the identification, appraisal, selection, and synthesis of all the high-quality evidence pertinent to the question" (Reitz, 2014).

Recommended Reading

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About this page

EBSCO Connect [Discovery and Search]. (2022). Searching with boolean operators. Retrieved May, 3, 2022 from

EBSCO Connect [Discover and Search]. (2022). Searching with wildcards and truncation symbols. Retrieved May 3, 2022;

Machi, L.A. & McEvoy, B.T. (2009). The literature review . Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press: 

Reitz, J.M. (2014). Online dictionary for library and information science. ABC-CLIO, Libraries Unlimited . Retrieved from

Ridley, D. (2008). The literature review: A step-by-step guide for students . Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications, Inc.

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Contact a librarian directly (email), or submit a request form. If you have worked with someone before, you can request them on the form.

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  • Introduction

Critical appraisal of a quantitative paper (RCT)

This guide, aimed at health students, provides basic level support for appraising quantitative research papers. It's designed for students who have already attended lectures on critical appraisal. One framework for appraising quantitative research (based on reliability, internal and external validity) is provided and there is an opportunity to practise the technique on a sample article.

Please note this framework is for appraising one particular type of quantitative research a Randomised Controlled Trial (RCT) which is defined as 

a trial in which participants are randomly assigned to one of two or more groups: the experimental group or groups receive the intervention or interventions being tested; the comparison group (control group) receive usual care or no treatment or a placebo.  The groups are then followed up to see if there are any differences between the results.  This helps in assessing the effectiveness of the intervention.(CASP, 2020)

Support materials

  • Framework for reading quantitative papers (RCTs)
  • Critical appraisal of a quantitative paper PowerPoint

To practise following this framework for critically appraising a quantitative article, please look at the following article:

Marrero, D.G.  et al  (2016) 'Comparison of commercial and self-initiated weight loss programs in people with prediabetes: a randomized control trial',  AJPH Research , 106(5), pp. 949-956.

Critical Appraisal of a quantitative paper (RCT): practical example

  • Internal Validity
  • External Validity
  • Reliability Measurement Tool

How to use this practical example 

Using the framework, you can have a go at appraising a quantitative paper - we are going to look at the following article:

Marrero, d.g.  et al  (2016) 'comparison of commercial and self-initiated weight loss programs in people with prediabetes: a randomized control trial',  ajph research , 106(5), pp. 949-956.,            step 1.  take a quick look at the article, step 2.  click on the internal validity tab above - there are questions to help you appraise the article, read the questions and look for the answers in the article. , step 3.   click on each question and our answers will appear., step 4.    repeat with the other aspects of external validity and reliability. , questioning the internal validity:, randomisation : how were participants allocated to each group did a randomisation process taken place, comparability of groups: how similar were the groups eg age, sex, ethnicity – is this made clear, blinding (none, single, double or triple): who was not aware of which group a patient was in (eg nobody, only patient, patient and clinician, patient, clinician and researcher) was it feasible for more blinding to have taken place , equal treatment of groups: were both groups treated in the same way , attrition : what percentage of participants dropped out did this adversely affect one group has this been evaluated, overall internal validity: does the research measure what it is supposed to be measuring, questioning the external validity:, attrition: was everyone accounted for at the end of the study was any attempt made to contact drop-outs, sampling approach: how was the sample selected was it based on probability or non-probability what was the approach (eg simple random, convenience) was this an appropriate approach, sample size (power calculation): how many participants was a sample size calculation performed did the study pass, exclusion/ inclusion criteria: were the criteria set out clearly were they based on recognised diagnostic criteria, what is the overall external validity can the results be applied to the wider population, questioning the reliability (measurement tool) internal validity:, internal consistency reliability (cronbach’s alpha). has a cronbach’s alpha score of 0.7 or above been included, test re-test reliability correlation. was the test repeated more than once were the same results received has a correlation coefficient been reported is it above 0.7 , validity of measurement tool. is it an established tool if not what has been done to check if it is reliable pilot study expert panel literature review criterion validity (test against other tools): has a criterion validity comparison been carried out was the score above 0.7, what is the overall reliability how consistent are the measurements , overall validity and reliability:, overall how valid and reliable is the paper.

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This article has a correction. Please see:

  • Correction: How to appraise quantitative research - April 01, 2019

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  • Xabi Cathala 1 ,
  • Calvin Moorley 2
  • 1 Institute of Vocational Learning , School of Health and Social Care, London South Bank University , London , UK
  • 2 Nursing Research and Diversity in Care , School of Health and Social Care, London South Bank University , London , UK
  • Correspondence to Mr Xabi Cathala, Institute of Vocational Learning, School of Health and Social Care, London South Bank University London UK ; cathalax{at} and Dr Calvin Moorley, Nursing Research and Diversity in Care, School of Health and Social Care, London South Bank University, London SE1 0AA, UK; Moorleyc{at}

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Some nurses feel that they lack the necessary skills to read a research paper and to then decide if they should implement the findings into their practice. This is particularly the case when considering the results of quantitative research, which often contains the results of statistical testing. However, nurses have a professional responsibility to critique research to improve their practice, care and patient safety. 1  This article provides a step by step guide on how to critically appraise a quantitative paper.

Title, keywords and the authors

The authors’ names may not mean much, but knowing the following will be helpful:

Their position, for example, academic, researcher or healthcare practitioner.

Their qualification, both professional, for example, a nurse or physiotherapist and academic (eg, degree, masters, doctorate).

This can indicate how the research has been conducted and the authors’ competence on the subject. Basically, do you want to read a paper on quantum physics written by a plumber?

The abstract is a resume of the article and should contain:


Research question/hypothesis.

Methods including sample design, tests used and the statistical analysis (of course! Remember we love numbers).

Main findings.


The subheadings in the abstract will vary depending on the journal. An abstract should not usually be more than 300 words but this varies depending on specific journal requirements. If the above information is contained in the abstract, it can give you an idea about whether the study is relevant to your area of practice. However, before deciding if the results of a research paper are relevant to your practice, it is important to review the overall quality of the article. This can only be done by reading and critically appraising the entire article.

The introduction

Example: the effect of paracetamol on levels of pain.

My hypothesis is that A has an effect on B, for example, paracetamol has an effect on levels of pain.

My null hypothesis is that A has no effect on B, for example, paracetamol has no effect on pain.

My study will test the null hypothesis and if the null hypothesis is validated then the hypothesis is false (A has no effect on B). This means paracetamol has no effect on the level of pain. If the null hypothesis is rejected then the hypothesis is true (A has an effect on B). This means that paracetamol has an effect on the level of pain.

Background/literature review

The literature review should include reference to recent and relevant research in the area. It should summarise what is already known about the topic and why the research study is needed and state what the study will contribute to new knowledge. 5 The literature review should be up to date, usually 5–8 years, but it will depend on the topic and sometimes it is acceptable to include older (seminal) studies.


In quantitative studies, the data analysis varies between studies depending on the type of design used. For example, descriptive, correlative or experimental studies all vary. A descriptive study will describe the pattern of a topic related to one or more variable. 6 A correlational study examines the link (correlation) between two variables 7  and focuses on how a variable will react to a change of another variable. In experimental studies, the researchers manipulate variables looking at outcomes 8  and the sample is commonly assigned into different groups (known as randomisation) to determine the effect (causal) of a condition (independent variable) on a certain outcome. This is a common method used in clinical trials.

There should be sufficient detail provided in the methods section for you to replicate the study (should you want to). To enable you to do this, the following sections are normally included:

Overview and rationale for the methodology.

Participants or sample.

Data collection tools.

Methods of data analysis.

Ethical issues.

Data collection should be clearly explained and the article should discuss how this process was undertaken. Data collection should be systematic, objective, precise, repeatable, valid and reliable. Any tool (eg, a questionnaire) used for data collection should have been piloted (or pretested and/or adjusted) to ensure the quality, validity and reliability of the tool. 9 The participants (the sample) and any randomisation technique used should be identified. The sample size is central in quantitative research, as the findings should be able to be generalised for the wider population. 10 The data analysis can be done manually or more complex analyses performed using computer software sometimes with advice of a statistician. From this analysis, results like mode, mean, median, p value, CI and so on are always presented in a numerical format.

The author(s) should present the results clearly. These may be presented in graphs, charts or tables alongside some text. You should perform your own critique of the data analysis process; just because a paper has been published, it does not mean it is perfect. Your findings may be different from the author’s. Through critical analysis the reader may find an error in the study process that authors have not seen or highlighted. These errors can change the study result or change a study you thought was strong to weak. To help you critique a quantitative research paper, some guidance on understanding statistical terminology is provided in  table 1 .

  • View inline

Some basic guidance for understanding statistics

Quantitative studies examine the relationship between variables, and the p value illustrates this objectively.  11  If the p value is less than 0.05, the null hypothesis is rejected and the hypothesis is accepted and the study will say there is a significant difference. If the p value is more than 0.05, the null hypothesis is accepted then the hypothesis is rejected. The study will say there is no significant difference. As a general rule, a p value of less than 0.05 means, the hypothesis is accepted and if it is more than 0.05 the hypothesis is rejected.

The CI is a number between 0 and 1 or is written as a per cent, demonstrating the level of confidence the reader can have in the result. 12  The CI is calculated by subtracting the p value to 1 (1–p). If there is a p value of 0.05, the CI will be 1–0.05=0.95=95%. A CI over 95% means, we can be confident the result is statistically significant. A CI below 95% means, the result is not statistically significant. The p values and CI highlight the confidence and robustness of a result.

Discussion, recommendations and conclusion

The final section of the paper is where the authors discuss their results and link them to other literature in the area (some of which may have been included in the literature review at the start of the paper). This reminds the reader of what is already known, what the study has found and what new information it adds. The discussion should demonstrate how the authors interpreted their results and how they contribute to new knowledge in the area. Implications for practice and future research should also be highlighted in this section of the paper.

A few other areas you may find helpful are:

Limitations of the study.

Conflicts of interest.

Table 2 provides a useful tool to help you apply the learning in this paper to the critiquing of quantitative research papers.

Quantitative paper appraisal checklist

  • 1. ↵ Nursing and Midwifery Council , 2015 . The code: standard of conduct, performance and ethics for nurses and midwives ( accessed 21.8.18 ).
  • Gerrish K ,
  • Moorley C ,
  • Tunariu A , et al
  • Shorten A ,

Competing interests None declared.

Patient consent Not required.

Provenance and peer review Commissioned; internally peer reviewed.

Correction notice This article has been updated since its original publication to update p values from 0.5 to 0.05 throughout.

Linked Articles

  • Miscellaneous Correction: How to appraise quantitative research BMJ Publishing Group Ltd and RCN Publishing Company Ltd Evidence-Based Nursing 2019; 22 62-62 Published Online First: 31 Jan 2019. doi: 10.1136/eb-2018-102996corr1

Read the full text or download the PDF:

Pedagogy in Action

  • ⋮⋮⋮ ×

Quantitative Review of an Article

For this assignment, students will select one academic article out of five designated articles which are also assigned readings for the course. Students will read selected article critically and write a review of the article. This review essay should contain two components: (1) the assessment of the author's main argument or thesis statement by reviewing how the author(s) uses both qualitative and quantitative evidences in the articles; and (2) the assessment of the use, misuse, and missed-use of quantitative evidences and the assumptions behind the numbers.

Expand for more detail

Activity Classification and Connections to Related Resources Collapse

Grade level, learning goals.

  • to introduce quantitative critical thinking in reading.
  • to learn how to write with quantitative evidences by learning by doing (in this case is doing quantitative analytical review of an academic article).
  • to prepare for the main assignment of this course which requires understanding and the use of quantitative evidences and critical thinking in writing.

Context for Use

Description and teaching materials, teaching notes and tips, references and resources.

See more Examples »

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Article Review

Article Review

Article reviews are an essential part of academic article writing , providing an opportunity to evaluate and analyze published research. A well-written review can help readers understand the simple subject matter and determine the value of the article. In this article, we’ll cover what is an article review, provide step-by-step guidance on how to write one, and answer some common questions.

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What is an Article Review

An article review is a critical assessment of a scholarly article or research paper. It involves analyzing the content, methodology, and findings of the article and providing an evaluation of its strengths and weaknesses. The review typically includes a summary of the article’s main points, an evaluation of its contribution to the subject, and suggestions for improvement.

How to Write an Article Review

Writing an article review can be a challenging task, but it’s an essential skill for students and researchers alike. Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you write an effective article review:

Choose the article to review

Select an article that is relevant to your subject and interests you. Make sure the article is recent, reputable, and published in a peer-reviewed journal.

Read the article carefully

Read the article thoroughly and take notes as you go. Pay attention to the author’s thesis statement, research question, methodology, and findings.

Identify the main points and key arguments

Determine the main points and arguments of the article. Look for evidence that supports the author’s thesis statement.

Evaluate the article’s methodology and research design

Evaluate the methodology and research design used in the article. Determine if the research methods were appropriate and effective in answering the research question.

Assess the article’s strengths and weaknesses

Identify the strengths and weaknesses of the article. Evaluate the quality of the evidence presented and the logic of the arguments made.

Write a summary of the article

Summarize the article in your own words. Include the main points, key arguments, and findings of the article.

Write the main body of the review

In the main body of the review, analyze and evaluate the article. Discuss the strengths and weaknesses of the article and provide evidence to support your claims.

Conclude with a final evaluation and recommendations for improvement

Conclude your review with a final evaluation conclusion of the article. Highlight its strengths and weaknesses and provide recommendations for improvement.

Proofread and edit the review

After completing your review, proofread and edit it carefully. Check for spelling, grammar, and punctuation errors. Make sure your review is clear, concise, and well-organized.

What is the difference between an article review and a literature review?

A literature review is a comprehensive analysis of published research on a particular subject, while an article review focuses specifically on one article.

Can I use first-person sentences in an article review?

It depends on the guidelines given by your instructor or the publication you are submitting the review to. Generally, using the third person is more appropriate for academic writing sentences .

Should I include the abstract of the article in my review?

Yes, including a brief summary of the article’s abstract is usually a good idea.

How long should an article review be?

The length of an article review varies depending on the subject and the publication requirements. Generally, a review should be between 500 and 1000 words.

Writing an effective article review requires careful analysis, evaluation, and critique of the article. By following our step-by-step guide, you can develop the skills to write a comprehensive and insightful review that provides valuable information to readers. Whether you’re reviewing an academic article, book or manuscript , or any other subject, the tips and techniques outlined here will help you write an effective article review.

example of a quantitative article review

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  • Qualitative vs. Quantitative Research | Differences, Examples & Methods

Qualitative vs. Quantitative Research | Differences, Examples & Methods

Published on April 12, 2019 by Raimo Streefkerk . Revised on June 22, 2023.

When collecting and analyzing data, quantitative research deals with numbers and statistics, while qualitative research deals with words and meanings. Both are important for gaining different kinds of knowledge.

Common quantitative methods include experiments, observations recorded as numbers, and surveys with closed-ended questions.

Quantitative research is at risk for research biases including information bias , omitted variable bias , sampling bias , or selection bias . Qualitative research Qualitative research is expressed in words . It is used to understand concepts, thoughts or experiences. This type of research enables you to gather in-depth insights on topics that are not well understood.

Common qualitative methods include interviews with open-ended questions, observations described in words, and literature reviews that explore concepts and theories.

Table of contents

The differences between quantitative and qualitative research, data collection methods, when to use qualitative vs. quantitative research, how to analyze qualitative and quantitative data, other interesting articles, frequently asked questions about qualitative and quantitative research.

Quantitative and qualitative research use different research methods to collect and analyze data, and they allow you to answer different kinds of research questions.

Qualitative vs. quantitative research

Quantitative and qualitative data can be collected using various methods. It is important to use a data collection method that will help answer your research question(s).

Many data collection methods can be either qualitative or quantitative. For example, in surveys, observational studies or case studies , your data can be represented as numbers (e.g., using rating scales or counting frequencies) or as words (e.g., with open-ended questions or descriptions of what you observe).

However, some methods are more commonly used in one type or the other.

Quantitative data collection methods

  • Surveys :  List of closed or multiple choice questions that is distributed to a sample (online, in person, or over the phone).
  • Experiments : Situation in which different types of variables are controlled and manipulated to establish cause-and-effect relationships.
  • Observations : Observing subjects in a natural environment where variables can’t be controlled.

Qualitative data collection methods

  • Interviews : Asking open-ended questions verbally to respondents.
  • Focus groups : Discussion among a group of people about a topic to gather opinions that can be used for further research.
  • Ethnography : Participating in a community or organization for an extended period of time to closely observe culture and behavior.
  • Literature review : Survey of published works by other authors.

A rule of thumb for deciding whether to use qualitative or quantitative data is:

  • Use quantitative research if you want to confirm or test something (a theory or hypothesis )
  • Use qualitative research if you want to understand something (concepts, thoughts, experiences)

For most research topics you can choose a qualitative, quantitative or mixed methods approach . Which type you choose depends on, among other things, whether you’re taking an inductive vs. deductive research approach ; your research question(s) ; whether you’re doing experimental , correlational , or descriptive research ; and practical considerations such as time, money, availability of data, and access to respondents.

Quantitative research approach

You survey 300 students at your university and ask them questions such as: “on a scale from 1-5, how satisfied are your with your professors?”

You can perform statistical analysis on the data and draw conclusions such as: “on average students rated their professors 4.4”.

Qualitative research approach

You conduct in-depth interviews with 15 students and ask them open-ended questions such as: “How satisfied are you with your studies?”, “What is the most positive aspect of your study program?” and “What can be done to improve the study program?”

Based on the answers you get you can ask follow-up questions to clarify things. You transcribe all interviews using transcription software and try to find commonalities and patterns.

Mixed methods approach

You conduct interviews to find out how satisfied students are with their studies. Through open-ended questions you learn things you never thought about before and gain new insights. Later, you use a survey to test these insights on a larger scale.

It’s also possible to start with a survey to find out the overall trends, followed by interviews to better understand the reasons behind the trends.

Qualitative or quantitative data by itself can’t prove or demonstrate anything, but has to be analyzed to show its meaning in relation to the research questions. The method of analysis differs for each type of data.

Analyzing quantitative data

Quantitative data is based on numbers. Simple math or more advanced statistical analysis is used to discover commonalities or patterns in the data. The results are often reported in graphs and tables.

Applications such as Excel, SPSS, or R can be used to calculate things like:

  • Average scores ( means )
  • The number of times a particular answer was given
  • The correlation or causation between two or more variables
  • The reliability and validity of the results

Analyzing qualitative data

Qualitative data is more difficult to analyze than quantitative data. It consists of text, images or videos instead of numbers.

Some common approaches to analyzing qualitative data include:

  • Qualitative content analysis : Tracking the occurrence, position and meaning of words or phrases
  • Thematic analysis : Closely examining the data to identify the main themes and patterns
  • Discourse analysis : Studying how communication works in social contexts

If you want to know more about statistics , methodology , or research bias , make sure to check out some of our other articles with explanations and examples.

  • Chi square goodness of fit test
  • Degrees of freedom
  • Null hypothesis
  • Discourse analysis
  • Control groups
  • Mixed methods research
  • Non-probability sampling
  • Quantitative research
  • Inclusion and exclusion criteria

Research bias

  • Rosenthal effect
  • Implicit bias
  • Cognitive bias
  • Selection bias
  • Negativity bias
  • Status quo bias

Quantitative research deals with numbers and statistics, while qualitative research deals with words and meanings.

Quantitative methods allow you to systematically measure variables and test hypotheses . Qualitative methods allow you to explore concepts and experiences in more detail.

In mixed methods research , you use both qualitative and quantitative data collection and analysis methods to answer your research question .

The research methods you use depend on the type of data you need to answer your research question .

  • If you want to measure something or test a hypothesis , use quantitative methods . If you want to explore ideas, thoughts and meanings, use qualitative methods .
  • If you want to analyze a large amount of readily-available data, use secondary data. If you want data specific to your purposes with control over how it is generated, collect primary data.
  • If you want to establish cause-and-effect relationships between variables , use experimental methods. If you want to understand the characteristics of a research subject, use descriptive methods.

Data collection is the systematic process by which observations or measurements are gathered in research. It is used in many different contexts by academics, governments, businesses, and other organizations.

There are various approaches to qualitative data analysis , but they all share five steps in common:

  • Prepare and organize your data.
  • Review and explore your data.
  • Develop a data coding system.
  • Assign codes to the data.
  • Identify recurring themes.

The specifics of each step depend on the focus of the analysis. Some common approaches include textual analysis , thematic analysis , and discourse analysis .

A research project is an academic, scientific, or professional undertaking to answer a research question . Research projects can take many forms, such as qualitative or quantitative , descriptive , longitudinal , experimental , or correlational . What kind of research approach you choose will depend on your topic.

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  • P. Friedlingstein   ORCID: 8 , 9 ,
  • S. Metzger 10   nAff15   nAff16 ,
  • G. Morgan 11 ,
  • K. Novick   ORCID: 12 ,
  • J. N. Sanchirico 13 ,
  • J. R. Collins   ORCID: 1 , 14 ,
  • A. J. Eagle   ORCID: 1 ,
  • R. Fujita 1 ,
  • E. Holst 1 ,
  • J. M. Lavallee   ORCID: 1 ,
  • R. N. Lubowski 1   nAff17 ,
  • C. Melikov 1   nAff18 ,
  • L. A. Moore   ORCID: 1   nAff19 ,
  • E. E. Oldfield   ORCID: 1 ,
  • J. Paltseva 1   nAff20 ,
  • A. M. Raffeld   ORCID: 1 ,
  • N. A. Randazzo 1   nAff21   nAff22 ,
  • C. Schneider 1 ,
  • N. Uludere Aragon 1   nAff23 &
  • S. P. Hamburg 1  

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  • Climate-change ecology
  • Climate-change mitigation
  • Environmental impact

Viable nature-based climate solutions (NbCS) are needed to achieve climate goals expressed in international agreements like the Paris Accord. Many NbCS pathways have strong scientific foundations and can deliver meaningful climate benefits but effective mitigation is undermined by pathways with less scientific certainty. Here we couple an extensive literature review with an expert elicitation on 43 pathways and find that at present the most used pathways, such as tropical forest conservation, have a solid scientific basis for mitigation. However, the experts suggested that some pathways, many with carbon credit eligibility and market activity, remain uncertain in terms of their climate mitigation efficacy. Sources of uncertainty include incomplete GHG measurement and accounting. We recommend focusing on resolving those uncertainties before broadly scaling implementation of those pathways in quantitative emission or sequestration mitigation plans. If appropriate, those pathways should be supported for their cobenefits, such as biodiversity and food security.

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Nature-based climate solutions (NbCS) are conservation, restoration and improved management strategies (pathways) in natural and working ecosystems with the primary motivation to mitigate GHG emissions and remove CO 2 from the atmosphere 1 (similar to ecosystem-based mitigation 2 ). GHG mitigation through ecosystem stewardship is integral to meeting global climate goals, with the greatest benefit coming from near-term maximization of emission reductions, followed by CO 2 removal 3 . Many countries (for example, Indonesia, China and Colombia) use NbCS to demonstrate progress toward national climate commitments.

The scope of NbCS is narrower than that of nature-based solutions (NbS) which include interventions that prioritize non-climate benefits alongside climate (for example, biodiversity, food provisioning and water quality improvement) 4 . In many cases, GHG mitigation is considered a cobenefit that results from NbS actions focused on these other challenges 2 . In contrast, NbCS are broader than natural climate solutions, which are primarily focused on climate mitigation through conservation, restoration and improved land management, generally not moving ecosystems beyond their unmodified structure, function or composition 5 . NbCS may involve moving systems beyond their original function, for example by cultivating macroalgae in water deeper than their natural habitat.

The promise of NbCS has generated a proliferation of interest in using them in GHG mitigation plans 6 , 7 ; 104 of the 168 signatories to the Paris Accord included nature-based actions as part of their mitigation plans 8 . Success in long-term GHG management requires an accurate accounting of inputs and outputs to the atmosphere at scale, so NbCS credits must have robust, comprehensive and transparent scientific underpinnings 9 . Given the urgency of the climate problem, our goal is to identify NbCS pathways with a sufficient scientific foundation to provide broad confidence in their potential GHG mitigation impact, provide resources for confident implementation and identify priority research areas in more uncertain pathways. Evaluating implementation of mitigation projects is beyond our scope; this effort focuses on understanding the underlying science. The purpose is not evaluating any specific carbon crediting protocol or implementation framework but rather the current state of scientific understanding necessary to provide confidence in any NbCS.

In service of this goal, we first investigated nine biomes (boreal forests, coastal marine (salt marsh, mangrove, seagrass and coral reef), freshwater wetlands, grasslands, open ocean (large marine animal and mesopelagic zone biomass, seabed), peatlands, shrublands, temperate forests and tropical forests) and three cultivation types (agroforestry, croplands and macroalgae aquaculture); these were chosen because of their identified potential scale of global impact. In this context, impact is assessed as net GHG mitigation: the CO 2 sequestered or emissions reduced, for example, discounted by understood simultaneous emissions of other GHG (as when N 2 O is released simultaneously with carbon sequestration in cropland soils). From there, we identified 43 NbCS pathways which have been formally implemented (with or without market action) or informally proposed. We estimated the scale of mitigation impact for each pathway on the basis of this literature and, as a proxy measure of NbCS implementation, determined eligibility and activity under existing carbon crediting protocols. Eligibility means that the pathway is addressed by an existing GHG mitigation protocol; market activity means that credits are actively being bought under those eligibility requirements. We considered pathways across a spectrum from protection to improved management to restoration to manipulated systems, but some boundaries were necessary. We excluded primarily abiotically driven pathways (for example, ocean alkalinity enhancement) or where major land use or land-use trade-offs exist (for example, afforestation) 10 , 11 , 12 . Of the 43 pathways, 79% are at present eligible for carbon crediting (sometimes under several methodologies) and at least 65% of those have been implemented (Supplementary Table 1 ). This review was then appraised by 30 independent scholars (at least three per pathway; a complete review synthesis is given in the Supplementary Data ).

Consolidation of a broad body of scientific knowledge, with inherent variance, requires expert judgement. We used an expert elicitation process 13 , 14 , 15 with ten experts to place each proposed NbCS pathway into one of three readiness categories following their own assessment of the scientific literature, categorized by general sources of potential uncertainty: category 1, sufficient scientific basis to support a high-quality carbon accounting system or to support the development of such a system today; category 2, a >25% chance that focused research and reasonable funding would support development of high-quality carbon accounting (that is, move to category 1) within 5 years; or category 3, a <25% chance of development of high-quality carbon accounting within 5 years (for example, due to measurement challenges, unconstrained leakage, external factors which constrain viability).

If an expert ranked a pathway as category 2, they were also asked to rank general research needs to resolve: leakage/displacement (spillover to other areas), measuring, reporting and verification (the ability to quantify all salient stocks and fluxes), basic mechanisms of action (fundamental science), durability (ability to predict or compensate for uncertainty in timescale of effectiveness due to disturbances, climate change, human activity or other factors), geographic uncertainty (place-to-place variation), scaling potential (ability to estimate impact) and setting of a baseline (ability to estimate additionality over non-action; a counterfactual). To avoid biasing towards a particular a priori framework for evaluation of the scientific literature, reviewers could use their own framework for evaluating the NbCS literature about potential climate impact and so could choose to ignore or add relevant categorizations as well. Any pathway in category 1 would not need fundamental research for implementation; research gaps were considered too extensive for useful guidance on reducing uncertainty in category 3 pathways. Estimates of the global scale of likely potential impact (PgCO 2 e yr −1 ) and cobenefits were also collected from expert elicitors. See Methods and Supplementary Information for the survey instrument.

Four pathways with the highest current carbon market activity and high mitigation potential (tropical and temperate forest conservation and reforestation; Table 1 and Supplementary Data ), were consistently rated as high-confidence pathways in the expert elicitation survey. Other NbCS pathways, especially in the forestry sector, were rated relatively strongly by the experts for both confidence in scientific basis and scale of potential impact, with some spread across the experts (upper right quadrant, Fig. 1 ). Conversely, 13 pathways were consistently marked by experts as currently highly uncertain/low confidence (median score across experts: 2.5–3.0) and placed in category 3 (for example, cropland microbial amendments and coral reef restoration; Supplementary Tables 1 and 2 ). For the full review, including crediting protocols currently used, literature estimates of scale and details of sub-pathways, see Supplementary Data .

figure 1

Pathways in the upper right quadrant have both high confidence in the scientific foundations and the largest potential scale of global impact; pathways in the lower left have the lowest confidence in our present scientific body of knowledge and an estimated smaller potential scale of impact. Designations of carbon credit eligibility under existing protocols and market activity at the present time are noted. Grassland enhanced mineral weathering (EMW) is not shown (mean category rating 2.9) as no scale of impact was estimated. See Supplementary Table 1 for specific pathway data. Bars represent 20th to 80th percentiles of individual estimates, if there was variability in estimates. A small amount of random noise was added to avoid overlap.

The experts assessed 26 pathways as having average confidence scores between 1.5 and 2.4, suggesting the potential for near-term resolution of uncertainties. This categorization arose from either consensus amongst experts on the uncertain potential (for example, boreal forest reforestation consistently rated category 2, with primary concerns about durability) or because experts disagreed, with some ranking category 1 and others category 3 (for example, pasture management). We note that where expert disagreement exists (seen as the spread of responses in Fig. 1 and Supplementary Table 1 ; also see Data availability for link to original data), this suggests caution against overconfidence in statements about these pathways. These results also suggest that confidence may be increased by targeted research on the identified sources of uncertainty (Supplementary Table 3 ).

Sources of uncertainty

Durability and baseline-setting were rated as high sources of uncertainty across all pathways ranked as category 2 by the experts (mean ratings of 3.6 and 3.4 out of 5, respectively; Supplementary Table 3 ). Understanding of mechanisms and geographic spread had the lowest uncertainty ratings (2.1 and 2.3, respectively), showing confidence in the basic science. Different subsets of pathways had different prioritizations, however, suggesting different research needs: forest-centric pathways were most uncertain in their durability and additionality (3.8 and 3.4, respectively), suggesting concerns about long-term climate and disturbance trajectories. Agricultural and grassland systems, however, had higher uncertainty in measurement methods and additionality (3.9 and 3.5 respectively). Although there were concerns about durability from some experts (for example, due to sea-level rise), some coastal blue carbon pathways such as mangrove restoration (mean category ranking: 1.7 (20th to 80th percentile 1.0–2.0)) have higher confidence than others (for example, seagrass restoration: mean category ranking 2.8, 20th to 80th percentile 2.6–3.0)), which are relatively poorly constrained in terms of net radiative forcing potential despite a potentially large carbon impact (seagrass median: 1.60 PgCO 2 e yr −1 ; see Supplementary Data for more scientific literature estimates).

Scale of impact

For those pathways with lower categorization by the expert elicitation (category 2 or 3) at the present time, scale of global impact is a potential heuristic for prioritizing further research. High variability, often two orders of magnitude, was evident in the mean estimated potential PgCO 2 e yr −1 impacts for the different pathways (Fig. 1 and Supplementary Table 2 ) and the review of the literature found even larger ranges produced by individual studies (Supplementary Data ). A probable cause of this wide range was different constraints on the estimated potential, with some studies focusing on potential maximum impact and others on more constrained realizable impacts. Only avoided loss of tropical forest and cropland biochar amendment were consistently estimated as having the likely potential to mitigate >2 PgCO 2 e yr −1 , although biochar was considered more uncertain by experts due to other factors germane to its overall viability as a climate solution, averaging a categorization of 2.2. The next four highest potential impact pathways, ranging from 1.6 to 1.7 PgCO 2 e yr −1 , spanned the spectrum from high readiness (temperate forest restoration) to moderate (cropland conversion from annual to perennial vegetation and grassland restoration) to low (seagrass restoration, with main uncertainties around scale of potential impact and durability).

There was high variability in the elicitors’ estimated potential scale of impact, even in pathways with strong support, such as tropical forest avoided loss (20th to 80th percentile confidence interval: 1–8 PgCO 2 e yr −1 ), again emphasizing the importance of consistent definitions and constraints on how NbCS are measured, evaluated and then used in broad-scale climate change mitigation planning and budgeting. Generally, as pathway readiness decreased (moving from category 1 to 3), the elicitor-estimated estimates of GHG mitigation potential decreased (Supplementary Fig. 1 ). Note that individual studies from the scientific literature may have higher or lower estimates (Supplementary Data ).

Expert elicitation meta-analyses suggest that 6–12 responses are sufficient for a robust and stable quantification of responses 15 . We tested that assumption via a Monte Carlo-based sensitivity assessment. Readiness categorizations by the ten experts were robust to a Monte Carlo simulation test, where further samples were randomly drawn from the observed distribution of responses: mean difference between the original and the boot-strapped data was 0.02 (s.d. = 0.05) with an absolute difference average of 0.06 (s.d. = 0.06). The maximum difference in readiness categorization means across all pathways was 0.20 (s.d. = 0.20) (Supplementary Table 2 ). The full dataset of responses is available online (see ʻData availabilityʼ).

These results highlight opportunities to accelerate implementation of NbCS in well-supported pathways and identify critical research needs in others (Fig. 1 ). We suggest focusing future efforts on resolving identified uncertainties for pathways at the intersection between moderate average readiness (for example, mean categorizations between ~1.5 and 2.0) and high potential impact (for example, median >0.5 PgCO 2 e yr −1 ; Supplementary Table 1 ): agroforestry, improved tropical and temperate forest management, tropical and boreal peatlands avoided loss and peatland restoration. Many, although not all, experts identified durability and baseline/additionality as key concerns to resolve in those systems; research explicitly targeted at those specific uncertainties (Supplementary Table 3 ) could rapidly improve confidence in those pathways.

We recommend a secondary research focus on the lower ranked (mean category 2.0 to 3.0) pathways with estimated potential impacts >1 PgCO 2 e yr −1 (Supplementary Fig. 2 ). For these pathways, explicit, quantitative incorporation into broad-scale GHG management plans will require further focus on systems-level carbon/GHG understandings to inspire confidence at all stages of action and/or identifying locations likely to support durable GHG mitigation, for example ref. 16 . Examples of this group include avoided loss and degradation of boreal forests (for example, fire, pests and pathogens and albedo 16 ) and effective mesopelagic fishery management, which some individual studies estimate would avoid future reductions of the currently sequestered 1.5–2.0 PgC yr −1 (refs. 17 , 18 ). These pathways may turn out to have higher or lower potential than the expert review suggests, on the basis of individual studies (Supplementary Data ) but strong support will require further, independent verification of that potential.

We note that category 3 rankings by expert elicitation do not necessarily imply non-viability but simply that much more research is needed to confidently incorporate actions into quantitative GHG mitigation plans. We found an unsurprising trend of lower readiness categorization with lower pathway familiarity (Supplementary Fig. 3 ). This correlation may result from two, non-exclusive potential causes: (1) lower elicitor expertise in some pathways (inevitable, although the panel was explicitly chosen for global perspectives, connections and diverse specialties) and (2) an actual lack of scientific evidence in the literature, which leads to that self-reported lack of familiarity, a common finding in the literature review (Supplementary Data ). Both explanations suggest a need to better consolidate, develop and disseminate the science in each pathway for global utility and recognition.

Our focus on GHG-related benefits in no way diminishes the substantial conservation, environmental and social cobenefits of these pathways (Supplementary Table 4 ), which often exceed their perceived climate benefits 1 , 19 , 20 , 21 . Where experts found climate impacts to remain highly uncertain but other NbS benefits are clear (for example, biodiversity and water quality; Supplementary Table 4 ), other incentives or financing mechanisms independent of carbon crediting should be pursued. While the goals here directly relate to using NbCS as a reliably quantifiable part of global climate action planning and thus strong GHG-related scientific foundations, non-climate NbS projects may provide climate benefits that are less well constrained (and thus less useful from a GHG budgeting standpoint) but also valuable. Potential trade-offs, if any, between ecosystem services and management actions, such as biodiversity and positive GHG outcomes, should be explored to ensure the best realization of desired goals 2 .

Finally, our focus in this study was on broad-scale NbCS potential in quantitative mitigation planning because of the principal and necessary role of NbCS in overall global warming targets. We recognize the range of project conditions that may increase, or decrease, the rigour of any pathway outside the global-scale focus here. We did not specifically evaluate the large and increasing number of crediting concepts (by pathway: Supplementary Data ), focusing rather on the underlying scientific body of knowledge within those pathways. Some broad pathways may have better defined sub-pathways within them, with a smaller potential scale of impact but potentially lower uncertainty (for example, macroalgae harvest cycling). Poorly enacted NbCS actions and/or crediting methodologies at project scales may result in loss of benefits even from high-ranking pathways 22 , 23 , 24 and attention to implementation should be paramount. Conversely, strong, careful project-scale methodologies may make lower readiness pathways beneficial for a given site.

Viable NbCS are vital to global climate change mitigation but NbCS pathways that lack strong scientific underpinnings threaten global accounting by potentially overestimating future climate benefits and eroding public trust in rigorous natural solutions. Both the review of the scientific literature and the expert elicitation survey identified high potential ready-to-implement pathways (for example, tropical reforestation), reinforcing present use of NbCS in planning.

However, uncertainty remains about the quantifiable GHG mitigation of some active and nascent NbCS pathways. On the basis of the expert elicitation survey and review of the scientific literature, we are concerned that large-scale implementation of less scientifically well-founded NbCS pathways in mitigation plans may undermine net GHG budget planning; those pathways require more study before they can be confidently promoted at broad scales and life-cycle analyses to integrate system-level emissions when calculating totals. The expert elicitation judgements suggest a precautionary approach to scaling lower confidence pathways until the scientific foundations are strengthened, especially for NbCS pathways with insufficient measurement and monitoring 10 , 24 , 25 or poorly understood or measured net GHG mitigation potentials 16 , 26 , 27 , 28 . While the need to implement more NbCS pathways for reducing GHG emissions and removing carbon from the atmosphere is urgent, advancing the implementation of poorly quantified pathways (in relation to their GHG mitigation efficacy) could give the false impression that they can balance ongoing, fossil emissions, thereby undermining overall support for more viable NbCS pathways. Explicitly targeting research to resolve these uncertainties in the baseline science could greatly bolster confidence in the less-established NbCS pathways, benefiting efforts to reduce GHG concentrations 29 .

The results of this study should inform both market-based mechanisms and non-market approaches to NbCS pathway management. Research and action that elucidates and advances pathways to ensure a solid scientific basis will provide confidence in the foundation for successfully implementing NbCS as a core component of global GHG management.

NbCS pathway selection

We synthesized scientific publications for nine biomes (boreal forests, coastal blue carbon, freshwater wetlands, grasslands, open ocean blue carbon, peatlands, shrublands, temperate forests and tropical forests) and three cultivation types (agroforestry, croplands and macroalgae aquaculture) (hereafter, systems) and the different pathways through which they may be able to remove carbon or reduce GHG emissions. Shrublands and grasslands were considered as independent ecosystems; nonetheless, we acknowledge that there is overlap in the numbers presented here because shrublands are often included with grasslands 5 , 30 , 31 , 32 , 33 .

The 12 systems were chosen because they have each been identified as having potential for emissions reductions or carbon removal at globally relevant scales. Within these systems, we identified 43 pathways which either have carbon credit protocols formally established or informally proposed for review (non-carbon associated credits were not evaluated). We obtained data on carbon crediting protocols from international, national and regional organizations and registries, such as Verra, American Carbon Registry, Climate Action Reserve, Gold Standard, Clean Development Mechanism, FAO and Nori. We also obtained data from the Voluntary Registry Offsets Database developed by the Berkeley Carbon Trading Project and Carbon Direct company 34 . While we found evidence of more Chinese carbon crediting protocols, we were not able to review these because of limited publicly available information. To maintain clarity and avoid misrepresentation, we used the language as written in each protocol. A full list of the organizations and registries for each system can be found in the Supplementary Data .

Literature searches and synthesis

We reviewed scientific literature and reviews (for example, IPCC special reports) to identify studies reporting data on carbon stocks, GHG dynamics and sequestration potential of each system. Peer-reviewed studies and meta-analyses were identified on Scopus, Web of Science and Google Scholar using simple queries combining the specific practice or pathway names or synonyms (for example, no-tillage, soil amendments, reduced stocking rates, improved forest management, avoided forest conversion and degradation, avoided mangrove conversion and degradation) and the following search terms: ‘carbon storage’, ‘carbon stocks’, ‘carbon sequestration’, ‘carbon sequestration potential’, ‘additional carbon storage’, ‘carbon dynamics’, ‘areal extent’ or ‘global’.

The full literature review was conducted between January and October 2021. We solicited an independent, external review of the syntheses (obtaining from at least three external reviewers per natural or working system; see p. 2 of the Supplementary Data ) as a second check against missing key papers or misinterpretation of data. The review was generally completed in March 2022. Data from additional relevant citations were added through October 2022 as they were discovered. For a complete list of all literature cited, see pp. 217–249 of the Supplementary Data .

From candidate papers, the papers were considered if their results/data could be applied to the following central questions:

How much carbon is stored (globally) at present in the system (total and on average per hectare) and what is the confidence?

At the global level, is the system a carbon source or sink at this time? What is the business-as-usual projection for its carbon dynamics?

Is it possible, through active management, to either increase net carbon sequestration in the system or prevent carbon emissions from that system? (Note that other GHG emissions and forcings were included here as well.)

What is the range of estimates for how much extra carbon could be sequestered globally?

How much confidence do we have in the present methods to detect any net increases in carbon sequestration in a system or net changes in areal extent of that?

From each paper, quantitative estimates for the above questions were extracted for each pathway, including any descriptive information/metadata necessary to understand the estimate. In addition, information on sample size, sampling scheme, geographic coverage, timeline of study, timeline of projections (if applicable) and specific study contexts (for example, wind-break agroforestry) were recorded.

We also tracked where the literature identified trade-offs between carbon sequestered or CO 2 emissions reduced and emissions of other GHG (for example, N 2 O or methane) for questions three and five above. For example, wetland restoration can result in increased CO 2 uptake from the atmosphere. However, it can also increase methane and N 2 O emissions to the atmosphere. Experts were asked to consider the uncertainty in assessing net GHG mitigation as they categorized the NbCS pathways.

Inclusion of each pathway in mitigation protocols and the specific carbon registries involved were also identified. These results are reported (grouped or individually as appropriate) in the Supplementary Data , organized by the central questions and including textual information for interpretation. The data and protocol summaries for each of the 12 systems were reviewed by at least three scientists each and accordingly revised.

These summaries were provided to the expert elicitation group as optional background information.

Unit conversions

Since this synthesis draws on literature from several sources that use different methods and units, all carbon measurements were standardized to the International System of Units (SI units). When referring to total stocks for each system, numbers are reported in SI units of elemental carbon (that is, PgC). When referring to mitigation potential, elemental carbon was converted to CO 2 by multiplying by 3.67. Differences in methodology, such as soil sampling depth, make it difficult to standardize across studies. Where applicable, the specific measurement used to develop each stock estimate is reported.

Expert elicitation process

To assess conclusions brought about by the initial review process described above, we conducted an expert elicitation survey to consolidate and add further, independent assessments to the original literature review. The expert elicitation survey design followed best practice recommendations 14 , with a focus on participant selection, explicitly defining uncertainty, minimizing cognitive and overconfidence biases and clarity of focus. Research on expert elicitation suggests that 6–12 responses are sufficient for a stable quantification of responses 15 . We identified >40 potential experts via a broad survey of leading academics, science-oriented NGO and government agency publications and products. These individuals have published on several NbCS pathways or could represent larger research efforts that spanned the NbCS under consideration. Careful attention was paid to the gender and sectoral breakdown of respondents to ensure equitable representation. Of the invitees, ten completed the full elicitation effort. Experts were offered compensation for their time.

Implementation of the expert elicitation process followed the IDEA protocol 15 . Briefly, after a short introductory interview, the survey was sent to the participants. Results were anonymized and standardized (methods below) and a meeting held with the entire group to discuss the initial results and calibrate understanding of questions. The purpose of this meeting was not to develop consensus on a singular answer but to discuss and ensure that all questions are being considered in the same way (for example, clarifying any potentially confusing language, discussing any questions that emerged as part of the process). The experts then revisited their initial rankings to provide final, anonymous rankings which were compiled in the same way. These final rankings are the results presented here and may be the same or different from the initial rankings, which were discarded.

Survey questions

The expert elicitation survey comprised five questions for each pathway. The data were collected via Google Forms and collated anonymously at the level of pathways, with each respondent contributing one datapoint for each pathway. The experts reported their familiarity (or the familiarity of the organization whose work they were representing) with the pathway and other cobenefits for the pathways.

The initial question ranked the NbCS pathway by category, from one to three.

Category 1 was defined as a pathway with sufficient scientific knowledge to support a high-quality carbon accounting system today (for example, meets the scientific criteria identified in the WWF-EDF-Oeko Institut and ICAO TAB) or to support the development of such a system today. The intended interpretation is that sufficient science is available for quantifying and verifying net GHG mitigation. Note that experts were not required to reference any given ‘high-quality’ crediting framework, which were provided only as examples. In other words, the evaluation was not intended to rank a given framework (for example, ref. 35 ) but rather expert confidence in the fundamental scientific understandings that underpin potential for carbon accounting overall. To this end, no categorization of uncertainty was required (reviewers could skip categorizations they felt were not necessary) and space was available to fill in new categories by individual reviewers (if they felt a category was missing or needed). Uncertainties at this category 1 level are deemed ‘acceptable’, for example, not precluding accounting now, although more research may further substantiate high-quality credits.

Category 2 pathways have a good chance (>25%) that with more research and within the next 5 years, the pathway could be developed into a high-quality pathway for carbon accounting and as a nature-based climate solution pathway. For these pathways, further understanding is needed for factors such as baseline processes, long-term stability, unconstrained fluxes, possible leakage or other before labelling as category 1 but the expert is confident that information can be developed, in 5 years or less, with more work. The >25% chance threshold and 5-year timeframe were determined a priori to reflect and identify pathways that experts identified as having the potential to meet the Paris Accord 2030 goal. Other thresholds (for example, longer timeframes) could have been chosen, which would impact the relative distribution of pathways in categories 2 and 3 (for example, a longer timeframe allowed could move some pathways from category 3 into category 2, for some reviewers). We emphasize that category 3 pathways do not necessarily mean non-valuable approaches but longer timeframes required for research than the one set here.

Category 3 responses denoted pathways that the expert thought had little chance (<25%) that with more research and within the next 5 years, this pathway could be developed into a suitable pathway for managing as a natural solutions pathway, either because present evidence already suggests GHG reduction is not likely to be viable, co-emissions or other biophysical feedbacks may offset those gains or because understanding of key factors is lacking and unlikely to be developed within the next 5 years. Notably, the last does not mean that the NbCS pathway is not valid or viable in the long-term, simply that physical and biological understandings are probably not established enough to enable scientific rigorous and valid NbCS activity in the near term.

The second question asked the experts to identify research gaps associated with those that they ranked as category 2 pathways to determine focal areas for further research. The experts were asked to rank concerns about durability (ability to predict or compensate for uncertainty in timescale of effectiveness due to disturbances, climate change, human activity or other factors), geographic uncertainty (place-to-place variation), leakage or displacement (spillover of activities to other areas), measuring, reporting and verification (MRV, referring to the ability to quantify all salient stocks and fluxes to fully assess climate impacts), basic mechanisms of action (fundamental science), scaling potential (ability to estimate potential growth) and setting of a baseline (ability to reasonably quantify additionality over non-action, a counterfactual). Respondents could also enter a different category if desired. For complete definitions of these categories, see the survey instrument ( Supplementary Information ). This question was not asked if the expert ranked the pathway as category 1, as those were deemed acceptable, or for category 3, respecting the substantial uncertainty in that rating. Note that responses were individual and so the same NbCS pathway could receive (for example) several individual category 1 rankings, which would indicate reasonable confidence from those experts, and several category 2 rankings from others, which would indicate that those reviewers have lingering concerns about the scientific basis, along with their rankings of the remaining key uncertainties in those pathways. These are important considerations, as they reflect the diversity of opinions and research priorities; individual responses are publicly available (anonymized: ).

The third question involved quantification of the potential for moving from category 2 to 1 explicitly. Following ref. 14 , the respondents first reported the lowest plausible value for the potential likelihood of movement (representing the lower end of a 95% confidence interval), then the upper likelihood and then their best guess for the median/most likely probability. They were also asked for the odds that their chosen interval contained the true value, which was used to scale responses to standard 80% credible intervals and limit overconfidence bias 13 , 15 . This question was not asked if the expert ranked the pathway as category 3, respecting the substantial uncertainty in that rating.

The fourth question involved the scale of potential impact from the NbCS, given the range of uncertainties associated with effectiveness, area of applicability and other factors. The question followed the same pattern as the third, first asking about lowest, then highest, then best estimate for potential scale of impact (in PgCO 2 e yr −1 ). Experts were again asked to express their confidence in their own range, which was used to scale to a standard 80% credible interval. This estimate represents a consolidation of the best-available science by the reviewers. For a complete review including individual studies and their respective findings, see the Supplementary Data . This question was not asked if the expert ranked the pathway as category 3, respecting the substantial uncertainty in that rating.

Final results

After collection of the final survey responses, results were anonymized and compiled by pathway. For overall visualization and discussion purposes, responses were combined into a mean and 20th to 80th percentile range. The strength of the expert elicitation process lies in the collection of several independent assessments. Those different responses represent real differences in data interpretation and synthesis ascribed by experts. This can have meaningful impacts on decision-making by different individuals and organizations (for example, those that are more optimistic or pessimistic about any given pathway). Therefore, individual anonymous responses were retained by pathway to show the diversity of responses for any given pathway. The experts surveyed, despite their broad range of expertise, ranked themselves as less familiar with category 3 pathways than category 1 or 2 (linear regression, P  < 0.001, F  = 59.6 2, 394 ); this could be because of a lack of appropriate experts—although they represented all principal fields—or simply because the data are limited in those areas.


To check for robustness against sample size variation, we conducted a Monte Carlo sensitivity analysis of the data on each pathway to generate responses of a further ten hypothetical experts. Briefly, the extra samples were randomly drawn from the observed category ranking mean and standard deviations for each individual pathway and appended to the original list; values <1 or >3 were truncated to those values. This analysis resulted in only minor differences in the mean categorization across all pathways: the mean difference between the original and the boot-strapped data was 0.02 (s.d. = 0.05) with an absolute difference average of 0.06 (s.d. = 0.06). The maximum difference in means across all pathways was 0.20 (s.d. = 0.20) (Supplementary Table 2 ). The results suggest that the response values are stable to additional responses.

All processing was done in R 36 , with packages including fmsb 37 and forcats 38 .

Data availability

Anonymized expert elicitation responses are available on Zenodo 39 : .

Code availability

R code for analysis available on Zenodo 39 : .

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This research was supported through gifts to the Environmental Defense Fund from the Bezos Earth Fund, King Philanthropies and Arcadia, a charitable fund of L. Rausing and P. Baldwin. We thank J. Rudek for help assembling the review and 30 experts who reviewed some or all of those data and protocol summaries (Supplementary Data ). S.M. was supported by a cooperative agreement between the National Science Foundation and Battelle that sponsors the National Ecological Observatory Network programme.

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Present address: AtmoFacts, Longmont, CO, USA

R. N. Lubowski

Present address: Lombard Odier Investment Managers, New York, NY, USA

Present address: Ecological Carbon Offset Partners LLC, dba EP Carbon, Minneapolis, MN, USA

L. A. Moore

Present address: , San Francisco, CA, USA

J. Paltseva

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N. A. Randazzo

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Present address: University of Maryland, College Park, MD, USA

N. Uludere Aragon

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These authors contributed equally: B. Buma, D. R. Gordon.

Authors and Affiliations

Environmental Defense Fund, New York, NY, USA

B. Buma, D. R. Gordon, K. M. Kleisner, A. Bartuska, J. R. Collins, A. J. Eagle, R. Fujita, E. Holst, J. M. Lavallee, R. N. Lubowski, C. Melikov, L. A. Moore, E. E. Oldfield, J. Paltseva, A. M. Raffeld, N. A. Randazzo, C. Schneider, N. Uludere Aragon & S. P. Hamburg

Department of Integrative Biology, University of Colorado, Denver, CO, USA

Department of Biology, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL, USA

D. R. Gordon

Resources for the Future, Washington, DC, USA

A. Bartuska

International Arctic Research Center, University of Alaska, Fairbanks, AK, USA

Department of Ecology Evolution and Environmental Biology and the Climate School, Columbia University, New York, NY, USA

The Nature Conservancy, Arlington, VA, USA

Faculty of Environment, Science and Economy, University of Exeter, Exeter, UK

P. Friedlingstein

Laboratoire de Météorologie Dynamique/Institut Pierre-Simon Laplace, CNRS, Ecole Normale Supérieure/Université PSL, Sorbonne Université, Ecole Polytechnique, Palaiseau, France

National Ecological Observatory Network, Battelle, Boulder, CO, USA

Department of Engineering and Public Policy, Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, PA, USA

O’Neill School of Public and Environmental Affairs, Indiana University, Bloomington, IN, USA

Department of Environmental Science and Policy, University of California, Davis, CA, USA

J. N. Sanchirico

Department of Marine Chemistry & Geochemistry, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Woods Hole, MA, USA

J. R. Collins

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D.R.G. and B.B. conceived of and executed the study design. D.R.G., K.M.K., J.R.C., A.J.E., R.F., E.H., J.M.L., R.N.L., C.M., L.A.M., E.E.O., J.P., A.M.R., N.A.R., C.S. and N.U.A. coordinated and conducted the literature review. G.M. and B.B. primarily designed the survey. A. Bartuska, A. Bidlack, B.B., J.N.S., K.N., P.E., P.F., R.D. and S.M. contributed to the elicitation. B.B. conducted the analysis and coding. S.P.H. coordinated funding. B.B. and D.R.G. were primary writers; all authors were invited to contribute to the initial drafting.

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Correspondence to B. Buma .

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The authors declare no competing interests. In the interest of full transparency, we note that while B.B., D.R.G., K.M.K., A.B., J.R.C., A.J.E., R.F., E.H., J.M.L., R.N.L., C.M., L.A.M., E.E.O., J.P., A.M.R., N.A.R., C.S., N.U.A., S.P.H. and P.E. are employed by organizations that have taken positions on specific NbCS frameworks or carbon crediting pathways (not the focus of this work), none have financial or other competing interest in any of the pathways and all relied on independent science in their contributions to the work.

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Supplementary Tables 1–4, Figs. 1–3 and survey instrument.

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Literature review and list of reviewers.

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Buma, B., Gordon, D.R., Kleisner, K.M. et al. Expert review of the science underlying nature-based climate solutions. Nat. Clim. Chang. (2024).

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Galdas P, Darwin Z, Fell J, et al. A systematic review and metaethnography to identify how effective, cost-effective, accessible and acceptable self-management support interventions are for men with long-term conditions (SELF-MAN). Southampton (UK): NIHR Journals Library; 2015 Aug. (Health Services and Delivery Research, No. 3.34.)

Cover of A systematic review and metaethnography to identify how effective, cost-effective, accessible and acceptable self-management support interventions are for men with long-term conditions (SELF-MAN)

A systematic review and metaethnography to identify how effective, cost-effective, accessible and acceptable self-management support interventions are for men with long-term conditions (SELF-MAN).

Chapter 2 quantitative review methods.

A systematic review and meta-analysis was conducted based upon a protocol published on the PROSPERO database (registration number CRD42013005394, URL: ).

Deviations from the original protocol are presented in Box 1 .

Deviations from original PROSPERO protocol The target population are male adults (aged 18 years or over) living with one or more long-term conditions.

  • Search strategy

We searched the following databases using a search strategy developed in conjunction with an information specialist from the Centre for Reviews and Dissemination, University of York (see Appendix 1 ): Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews (CDSR); Database of Abstracts of Reviews of Effects (DARE) (up to July 2013); PROSPERO (International Prospective Register of Systematic Reviews) (up to July 2013); and Medical Literature Analysis and Retrieval System Online (MEDLINE) (January 2012 to July 2013). The breadth of the literature identified meant we took a pragmatic approach and limited our search to CDSR; see Box 1 .

Inclusion/exclusion criteria

Randomised controlled trials (RCTs) investigating self-management support interventions in men with LTCs (identified via Cochrane systematic reviews of self-management support interventions) were included. Studies which analysed the effects of self-management support interventions in sex groups within a RCT were also identified and synthesised separately.

The following population, intervention, comparison and outcome criteria were used:

  • Population and setting : adults, 18 years of age or older, diagnosed with a LTC. We limited the review to studies of patients with 14 ‘exemplar’ LTCs (informed by disease areas prioritised in the PRISMS study and team discussions): asthma, diabetes, depression, hypertension, heart failure, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), arthritis, chronic kidney disease, chronic pain, human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), testicular cancer, prostate cancer, prostate hyperplasia and chronic skin conditions in any setting. Studies including inpatients with depression were excluded. Studies including patients with multimorbidity involving at least one ‘exemplar’ condition were considered.
An intervention primarily designed to develop the abilities of patients to undertake management of health conditions through education, training and support to develop patient knowledge, skills or psychological and social resources.
  • Comparison : any comparison group. We considered studies using ‘care as usual’ or any other intervention.
  • Outcomes : effectiveness, cost-effectiveness. We extracted data on the effect of interventions on health status, clinical measures, health behaviour, health-care use, self-efficacy, knowledge and understanding, communication with health-care professionals (HCPs) and effects on members/carers.
  • Study design : RCTs identified via eligible Cochrane systematic reviews. Only papers published in the English language were included, as translation was not feasible in the time frame of the project. In instances where records were unobtainable, attempts were made to contact authors to request the information.

Criteria for defining a self-management support intervention The intervention should, through some means of education, training or support, help people with a LTC by:

  • Identification of studies

We piloted the screening criteria on a sample of papers before undertaking the main screening, in order to identify and resolve any inconsistencies. Screening was conducted in two phases:

  • identification of relevant Cochrane systematic reviews
  • identification of relevant RCTs within included Cochrane systematic reviews.

For phase 1, an initial screen by title and abstract was conducted by one researcher. Two researchers then screened each article independently according to the screening criteria to identify relevant systematic reviews. Disagreements were resolved by a third researcher (principal investigator) as required.

For phase 2, each Cochrane review was screened independently for eligible RCTs by two researchers. The eligibility of each RCT was checked using the study information presented within Cochrane reviews before full papers were sourced. Full texts of each RCT were independently screened by two researchers and disagreements were resolved by a third researcher (principal investigator) as required.

For this review we focused on identifying male-only RCTs and trials which analysed the effects of interventions by sex groups. Agreement on Cochrane review eligibility was 89% and agreement on male-only RCT inclusion/exclusion and identification of RCTs containing sex group analyses was > 90%.

  • Data extraction

We designed a data extraction sheet and piloted this on a sample of papers prior to the main data extraction. Relevant data from each included article were extracted by a member of the review team and checked for completeness and accuracy by a second member of the team. Disagreements were discussed and resolved by a third person (principal investigator) as required. In instances where key information for meta-analysis was missing, efforts were made to contact authors. We extracted data on study and population characteristics, intervention details (setting, duration, frequency, individual/group, delivered by), outcome measures of health status, clinical measures, health behaviour, health-care use, self-efficacy, knowledge and understanding, communication with HCPs and items for quality assessment (Cochrane risk of bias tool 35 ). Items for economic evaluations [hospital admission, service use, health-related quality of life (HRQoL), incremental cost-effectiveness ratios] were also extracted.

Where studies were reported in multiple publications, each publication was included and relevant data were extracted.

  • Quality assessment strategy

We extracted data on the methodological quality of all included male-only RCTs and appraised this using the Cochrane risk of bias tool. Quality appraisal was undertaken by two researchers independently and disagreements were resolved through discussion. Sequence generation, allocation concealment, blinding, incomplete outcome data, selective outcome reporting and other sources of bias were assessed, assigning low, high or unclear risk of bias, as appropriate. The purpose of the quality appraisal was to describe the quality of the evidence base, not to give an inclusion/exclusion criterion.

Randomised controlled trials containing sex group analyses were assessed for quality using assessment criteria adapted from Pincus et al. 36 and Sun et al. 37 ‘Yes’, ‘No’ and ‘Unclear’ were recorded as responses to the following quality appraisal questions:

  • Was the group hypothesis considered a priori?
  • Was gender included as a stratification factor at randomisation?
  • Was gender one of a small number of planned group hypotheses tested (≤ 5)?
  • Was the study free of other bias (randomisation, allocation concealment, outcome reporting)?
  • Data analysis

Meta-analysis was conducted using Review Manager version 5.2 (The Nordic Cochrane Centre, The Cochrane Collaboration, Copenhagen, Denmark).

Data were extracted, analysed and presented as standardised mean difference (SMD) to account for the different instruments used, unless otherwise stated. As a guide to the magnitude of effect, we categorised an effect size of 0.2 as representing a ‘small’ effect, 0.5 a ‘moderate’ effect and 0.8 a ‘large’ effect. 38

A random-effects model was used to combine study data. Statistical heterogeneity was assessed with the I 2 value, with ‘low’ heterogeneity set at ≤ 25%, ‘moderate’ 50% and ‘high’ 75%.

In instances where studies contained multiple intervention groups, each group was extracted and analysed independently, dividing the control group sample size to avoid double counting in the analysis.

The following outcome measures were used in the analysis where possible: HRQoL, depression, anxiety, fatigue, stress, distress, pain and self-efficacy. Where a study contained more than one measure of a particular outcome (e.g. depression measured by the Centre for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale 39 and Beck Depression Inventory 40 ), the tool most established in the wider literature was chosen for meta-analysis. If the tool had multiple subscales, a judgement was made about the most relevant subscale. Where studies reported at multiple time periods, outcome measures reported at or closest to 6 months were used, as measures around this time were by far the most frequently reported.

Unless otherwise specified in the results section, positive effect sizes indicate beneficial outcomes for HRQoL and self-efficacy outcomes, while negative effect sizes indicate beneficial outcomes for depression, anxiety, fatigue, stress, distress and pain outcomes.

We conducted four types of analysis, described below.

Analysis 1: ‘within-Cochrane review analysis’

Analysis 1 sought to determine whether studies in males show larger, similar or smaller effects than studies in females and mixed-sex groups within interventions included within the ‘parent’ Cochrane review. We screened all included Cochrane reviews of self-management support interventions to identify those that contained analysis on outcomes of interest and at least two relevant male-only RCTs. Where an eligible review was identified that met these criteria, the studies were categorised as male only, mixed sex and female only ( Figure 1 ).

Analysis 1: ‘within-Cochrane review analysis’.

Such comparisons across trials do not have the protection of randomisation, and there may be differences between the studies included in each sex group which account for differences in effects between groups. We presented data on the comparability of these trials within these three categories, including the age of the included patient populations, and on the quality of the studies (using allocation concealment as an indicator of quality).

We report the effect size [together with significance and 95% confidence interval (CI)] of self-management support in each sex group (male only, mixed sex, female only). We conducted analyses to test whether or not interventions showed significantly different effects in sex groups. It should be noted that the power to detect significant differences in such analyses can be limited.

Analysis 2: ‘across-Cochrane review analysis’

Analysis 2 sought to determine whether studies in males show larger, similar or smaller effects than studies in females and mixed-sex groups within types of self-management support pooled across reviews.

In analysis 2, data were pooled according to broad intervention type across reviews, rather than within individual reviews as in analysis 1 ( Figure 2 ). This allowed us to determine whether broad types/components of self-management support interventions show larger, similar or smaller effects in males than in females and mixed populations. Limitations in the data meant that we were able to conduct analyses on only physical activity, education, peer support, and HCP monitoring and feedback interventions.

Analysis 2: ‘across-Cochrane review analysis’.

We report the effect size (together with significance and 95% CI) of self-management support in each sex group (male only, mixed sex, female only). We conducted analyses to test whether or not interventions showed significantly different effects in sex groups. It should be noted that the power to detect significant differences in such analyses can be limited.

Analysis 3: ‘male-only intervention type analyses’

We conducted a meta-analysis on trials including males only, according to broad intervention type – physical activity, education, peer support, and HCP monitoring and feedback – and compared effects between intervention types ( Figure 3 ). This allowed us to determine whether or not certain broad categories of self-management support intervention were effective in men.

Analysis 3: ‘male-only intervention type analyses’.

Analysis 4: ‘within-trial sex group analysis’

We identified RCTs which analysed the effects of self-management support interventions in sex groups. We sought to extract relevant data on the direction and size of moderating effects in secondary analysis (i.e. whether males show larger, similar or smaller effects than females), and assess these effects in the context of relevant design data, such as sample size, and the quality of the secondary analysis ( Figure 4 ).

Analysis 4: ‘within-trial sex group analysis’.

Sex group analyses within trials do in theory provide greater comparability in terms of patient and intervention characteristics than analyses 1–3.

A mixture of LTCs was included within each analysis, constituting the main analysis. Although this was not in the original protocol, we attempted to conduct an analysis by each disease area. We found there were sufficient data to conduct a sex-comparative analysis in only cancer studies; the results are presented in Appendix 2 .

  • Coding interventions for analysis

The plan to use the behavioural change techniques (BCT) taxonomy was dropped (see Box 1 on protocol deviations). Post hoc, we took a pragmatic approach to coding interventions. Development of the intervention categories was informed by the published literature identified in this project and previous work conducted by the PRISMS and RECURSIVE project teams. 7 , 33 Table 1 provides a list of the categories and their associated description. Categories were designed to be broadly representative of the interventions identified and facilitate comparison of intervention types in the analysis. Two members of the review team independently assessed the ‘type’ of self-management support intervention in each study in order to categorise it, and disagreements were identified and resolved by discussion with a team member.


Self-management support intervention categories and description

  • Economic evaluation

The review of cost-effectiveness studies was initially planned as a two-stage review. First, we would review economic evaluations of self-management interventions on males only. Subsequently, we would review all economic evaluations with group analyses in which the costs and effects for males and females could be separated.

Study quality was assessed using a modified version of the Drummond checklist where appropriate. 45

  • Study characteristics

Setting and sample

We identified a total of 40 RCTs on self-management support interventions conducted in male-only samples (some trials have more than one reference) ( Figure 5 ). The majority of the studies were conducted in the USA ( n  = 23), 46 – 70 with the remainder conducted in the UK ( n  = 6), 71 – 78 Canada ( n  = 5), 79 – 83 Spain ( n  = 3), 84 – 88 Sweden ( n  = 1), 89 Poland ( n  = 1) 90 and Greece ( n  = 1). 91 Males with prostate cancer were the most frequently studied male-only population ( n  = 15) included in this review. 48 , 49 , 52 , 58 , 59 , 61 , 64 – 66 , 68 , 69 , 72 , 78 , 80 , 89 Other disease areas included hypertension ( n  = 6), 47 , 71 , 79 , 82 , 83 , 85 , 86 COPD ( n  = 6), 54 , 55 , 73 – 76 , 81 , 84 , 87 , 88 heart failure ( n  = 4), 62 , 67 , 90 , 91 type 2 diabetes ( n  = 3), 46 , 50 , 51 , 70 diabetes of unspecified type ( n  = 1), 56 arthritis ( n  = 1) 63 and testicular cancer ( n  = 1). 77 One multimorbidity study recruited obese men with type 2 diabetes and chronic kidney disease. 57 The age of participants ranged from 25 to 89 years and, where reported, ethnicity was predominantly white. Only one study reported socioeconomic status using a validated tool; 63 the majority of other publications included a description of education or annual income.

Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses flow diagram for the quantitative review.

Self-management support interventions

A total of 51 distinct self-management support interventions were reported across the 40 included male-only studies. Physical activity ( n  = 16), 49 , 57 , 62 , 72 – 76 , 78 , 80 , 81 , 84 , 87 – 91 education ( n  = 36), 46 – 55 , 58 – 61 , 63 – 67 , 70 – 72 , 77 , 79 – 81 , 83 – 88 peer support ( n  = 17) 47 , 49 , 53 , 56 , 68 – 72 , 80 and HCP monitoring and feedback ( n  = 25) 46 , 47 , 50 – 52 , 56 , 57 , 60 , 61 , 66 – 68 , 70 , 71 , 75 , 76 , 78 – 80 , 82 – 89 were the most frequently reported components of these interventions. Three interventions with a psychological component, 64 , 77 two interventions containing a financial incentive component 82 , 83 and one study containing an action plan component 19 were also identified.

Twenty-three of the interventions were aimed at individuals, 46 , 48 , 50 – 52 , 54 , 55 , 60 , 61 , 64 , 65 , 67 – 69 , 75 – 78 , 82 – 86 20 were aimed at groups 47 , 53 , 58 , 59 , 62 , 66 , 70 , 71 , 79 , 89 – 91 and the remainder used a mixed individual and group approach ( n  = 6). 49 , 56 , 72 – 74 , 80 , 81 , 87 , 88 It was unclear what approach was used in two studies. 57 , 63 Over half of the interventions lasted 0–5 months ( n  = 28), 47 , 53 , 58 – 64 , 67 – 69 , 71 – 80 , 85 , 86 12 interventions ranged between 6 and 11 months, 46 , 52 , 54 – 57 , 66 , 70 , 84 , 90 , 91 six interventions were 12 months or longer 49 , 65 , 81 , 82 , 84 , 87 , 88 and in five cases the total programme duration was unclear. 48 , 83 , 89

The mode of administration of the interventions varied. They included telephone-based support ( n  = 6), 60 , 61 , 65 , 67 face-to-face delivery ( n  = 21), 47 , 53 – 55 , 58 , 59 , 62 – 64 , 66 , 68 – 70 , 77 , 83 , 89 – 91 remote unsupervised activities ( n  = 2), 75 , 76 , 78 a combination of face-to-face delivery and remote unsupervised activities ( n  = 20), 46 – 51 , 57 , 71 – 74 , 79 – 82 , 84 – 89 and a combination of face-to-face delivery and telephone support ( n  = 2). 52 , 56

In terms of setting, interventions were reported to be home-based ( n  = 11), 46 , 52 , 60 , 61 , 65 , 67 , 75 , 76 , 78 at a non-home location such as a dedicated gym, pharmacy, hospital clinic, work, university laboratory, coffee shop or other community-based venue ( n  = 12), 53 – 55 , 62 – 64 , 68 – 70 , 77 , 85 , 86 , 90 a combination of home and non-home-based venue ( n  = 14) 48 – 51 , 56 , 57 , 72 – 74 , 79 – 84 , 87 , 88 or not clearly reported in the publication ( n  = 14). 47 , 58 , 59 , 66 , 71 , 89 , 91

Half of the studies 79 – 82 , 46 , 48 – 51 , 53 , 56 , 58 , 59 , 66 , 70 , 72 , 78 , 84 , 87 , 88 reported on some aspect of compliance with the self-management intervention and most participants were followed up for 6 months or less ( n  = 24) following participation in the intervention.

Table 2 provides an overview of study details and Table 3 includes detailed descriptions of the self-management support intervention.


Male-only study characteristics


Male-only studies: self-management support intervention characteristics

  • Quality assessment: risk of bias

Study quality was assessed using the Cochrane risk of bias tool, 92 which covers six key domains: sequence generation, allocation concealment, blinding performance, incomplete outcome data, selective outcome reporting and other sources of bias.

Studies were often poorly reported, making judgements of quality difficult. With the exception of selective outcome reporting, the most frequent rating for all domains was an unclear risk of bias. For the selective outcome-reporting domain, a low risk of bias was most frequently reported assignment. Table 4 describes the risk of bias allocation for each study by each domain. Figure 6 presents a summary of the male-only study quality assessment findings.


Male-only study Cochrane risk of bias findings

Summary of male-only study Cochrane risk of bias findings.

Included under terms of UK Non-commercial Government License .

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4 Ways a Settlement Could Change the Housing Industry

The influential National Association of Realtors agreed to make several changes to its policies to settle class-action lawsuits brought by home sellers who say they were forced to pay inflated commissions to real estate agents.

That National Association of Realtors building in Chicago.

By Debra Kamin

In the early hours of Friday morning, the National Association of Realtors agreed to a global settlement deal that would resolve several lawsuits against the trade group.

A group of Missouri home sellers sued N.A.R. over their policies on agent compensation, arguing that a N.A.R. rule requiring home sellers to pay commissions to their agents and the agents of their buyers led to inflated fees and price fixing. The lawsuit also called into a question another rule requiring agents to list homes on N.A.R.-affiliated databases in order to sell them. In October, a jury agreed that both practices were anticompetitive, and a judge ordered damages of at least $1.8 billion.

More than a dozen copycat cases, all accusing N.A.R. of stifling competition and violating antitrust laws, have followed.

With the settlement agreement, N.A.R. will pay $418 million in damages , but more important, it has agreed to rewrite a number of rules that have long been central to the U.S. housing industry. Here’s how things stand to change, pending court approval.

Home prices will drop.

In the United States, most agents specify a commission of 5 or 6 percent, paid by the seller. That means that someone with a $1 million home should expect to spend up to $60,000 on real estate commissions alone, with $30,000 going to his agent and $30,000 going to the agent who brings a buyer. Even for a home that costs $400,000 — close to the current median for homes across the United States — sellers are still paying around $24,000 in commissions, a cost that is baked into the final sales price of the home.

With the settlement agreement, sellers’ agents will no longer be required to make offers of commission to buyers’ agents, a practice called decoupling. This will save homeowners billions.

“Decoupling will allow commissions to be removed and negotiated down, lowering both housing prices and overall consumer costs,” said Steve Brobeck, the retired executive director of the Consumer Federation of America. Mr. Brobeck said that Americans spend about $100 billion a year in real estate commissions, and with the settlement, that number is expected to dip by at least $20 billion and up to $50 billion.

Since commissions are tacked onto the price of a home, “Over time, both sellers and buyers will force rates down through negotiation and comparison shopping in a more price-transparent marketplace,” he said.

The 6 percent commission will cease to be the norm.

The lawsuits argued that N.A.R., and brokerages that required their agents to be members of N.A.R., had set rules that led to an industrywide standard commission of 5 or 6 percent — one of the highest rates in the world. Without that guaranteed rate, agents will now most likely be forced to lower their commissions to compete for business.

“U.S. commissions are unlikely to decline to the 1 or 2 percent rate level in England, where only one agent and an attorney are usually involved in a home sale. But they certainly will decline substantially, and commissions will also increasingly reflect the competence and efforts of agents on sales,” Mr. Brobeck said in an email.

Steering — the practice of agents directing buyers to more expensive houses — will be less common.

Most of the databases where homes are listed for sale in the United States are restricted to dues-paying members who belong to N.A.R., a dominance that has led to antitrust allegations against N.A.R.

One N.A.R. rule demands that a listing agent, when posting a home on the database, clearly state the amount of compensation that a buying agent will receive should they bring a buyer. This is a practice that critics say has long led to “steering,” in which buyers’ agents direct their clients to pricier homes in a bid to collect a bigger commission check.

Under the settlement, any fields displaying broker compensation will be eliminated entirely, which will help damper the practice.

About one million real estate agents could leave the profession.

The number of real estate agents swelled during the pandemic, when mortgage rates plummeted and the housing market boomed. In 2020 and 2021, more than 156,000 people got their real estate licenses, and membership in the National Association of Realtors hit a peak of 1.6 million members in 2022.

A lot of that growth was predicated on the idea of easy money.

But now a lot of those agents are struggling, and a reduction in commission rates will only increase the pain. Half of the agents in the country sold one house — or no house s at all — last year. With the industry now staring down a massive overhaul, veteran agents predict their less experienced peers will leave the field all together.

Some analysts predict a mass departure. One widely cited report from investment banking firm Keefe, Bruyette & Woods projects 1 million agents leaving the field as shared commissions vanish.

“Veteran agents have built strong relationships, established reputations and extensive networks. Newer real estate agents may struggle,” said Jen McDonald, who leads LPT Realty in Reno, Nev., and has spent 24 years in the industry. “Without established reputations or strong clients bases, they are going to find it challenging to retain clients or attract new ones.”

Debra Kamin reports on real estate, covering what it means to buy, sell and own a home in America today. More about Debra Kamin


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    Share full article. Under a global settlement agreement, the National Association Realtors will pay $418 million in damages and rewrite a number of rules that have long been the standard of the U ...