Checklist for Evaluating Search and Rescue Research

A Checklist for Evaluating SAR Research

by Ken Hill
Halifax Regional Search and Rescue


  1. Is the method so described that replication of the study is possible without further information?
  2. Were subjects sampled randomly from the target population to which results are generalized?
  3. Is there a description of the instructions that were given to participants in the study?
  4. Were participants treated ethically (e.g., did they give informed consent; are their identities concealed; were they adequately debriefed about the study)?
  5. Are statistical analyses described sufficiently such that the reader can understand exactly how the results of the study led to the author’s conclusions?
  6. Does the author identify all possible limitations of the study, avoiding extravagant claims?


  1. Are the survey questions clear and understandable, using a vocabulary that is appropriate to all respondents?
  2. Does the survey avoid questions that are leading, loaded, or double-barreled?
  3. Are the options for each question symmetrical, linear, and equally spaced?
  4. Does the author identify any biases that may have affected replies to the survey?


    1. Did the author use variables that were controllable and measurable, specifying exactly how the variables were defined?
    2. Were appropriate control groups included in the experiment?
    3. Were sufficient numbers of subjects included in each group to conduct an adequate experiment?
    4. Were sufficient numbers of trials conducted such that the experimenter could get an adequate estimate of measurement error?

Note: This checklist is excerpted from the article entitled, “Conducting Research on Search and Rescue,” by Ken Hill, published in the Proceedings of the Annual Meeting of the National Association for Search and Rescue (NASAR), June, 1994.