Appraising literature has many purposes. It can be as simple as scanning titles before reading abstracts to examining in detail the statistical methodologies of articles to determine accuracy.
Looking at the abstract of an article within a database can give you ideas about what keywords and controlled vocabulary describes that article. For a particularity relevant article that can help you refine your search and make it stronger.
Appraising an article, or any information resource, before you download a citation or read it in depth can save you time. You do not want to read an entire research study only to discover its outcomes are irrelevant to your topic. Also, it helps ensure you will not include poorly done research in your project.
Guide from the Colorado State University Libraries on questions to ask when evaluating a journal article.
Information from the Cornell University Library on initial appraisal and content analysis that should be applied to information sources.
From the University of Maryland University College Library, ways to identify and locate scholarly articles.
Techniques to apply and questions to ask when evaluating web pages from the UC Berkeley Library.
Annotated list of web site evaluation resources from the MSU Libraries. A number of these tips can be applied to resources other than web pages.