Author Archives: Michael

REnPortable (v1.0.0)

REnPortable is a portable 64-bit R environment for Windows. It was put together using the launcher but is not endorsed by and does not comply with requirements.

Please note that to use REnPortable you need to supply your own 64-bit copy of R (base), Rtools, RStudio Desktop (Open Source Edition). REnPortable was tested with R v3.5.1, Rtools v3.4, and RStudio Desktop Open Source v1.1.453 on a Windows 10 (x64) machine. No support is offered for any of these programs — please use the relevant support pages.

The reason for putting together REnPortable was to have a complete, portable R environment to learn R and RStan. Therefore, all the preliminary work is complete to install the RStan for Windows packages into REnPortable.

You can find REnPortable on GitHub for more information and to download.

A concept map of research methods

I have been working on an update to the article I wrote in 2012 on mind mapping research designs. Finally it has arrived! It is in A0 paper format but can be printed in A3 and is still pretty legible. Concept map of research methods


Crowe, M., & Sheppard, L. (2012). Mind mapping research methods. Quality & Quantity, 46(5), 1493–1504.

Crowe Critical Appraisal Tool (v1.4)

Summary of main points

  • The Crowe Critical Appraisal Tool (CCAT) consists of
  • Always use the CCAT Form and the CCAT User Guide together.
  • Research designs should be appraised on their own merits, not to a ‘gold standard’.
  • All categories must be scored: it does not matter which research design was used
    • The lowest score for a category is 0, the highest score is 5
    • Category scores are whole numbers only (that is 0, 1, 2, 3, 4, or 5)
    • The score for each category must be reported
    • The total score (out of 40 or as a percent) is reported in addition to each category score.
  • Item descriptors may be marked present (✔), absent (✘), or not applicable (◼).
    • Tick marks are not a check list to be totalled.
    • Tick marks are simply a guide to scoring a category.
  • If in doubt use your best judgement, there is no right or wrong answer.


Crowe, M., Sheppard, L., & Campbell, A. (2011). Comparison of the effects of using the Crowe Critical Appraisal Tool versus informal appraisal in assessing health research: a randomised trial. International Journal of Evidence-Based Healthcare, 9(4), 444–449.
Crowe, M., Sheppard, L., & Campbell, A. (2012). Reliability analysis for a proposed critical appraisal tool demonstrated value for diverse research designs. Journal of Clinical Epidemiology, 65(4), 375–383.
Crowe, M., & Sheppard, L. (2011). A general critical appraisal tool: an evaluation of construct validity. International Journal of Nursing Studies, 48(12), 1505–1516.
Crowe, M., & Sheppard, L. (2011). A review of critical appraisal tools show they lack rigor: alternative tool structure is proposed. Journal of Clinical Epidemiology, 64(1), 79–89.