Systematic Reviews are often considered the gold standard in evidence-based medicine. Systematic Reviews are utilized to rigorously identify studies relevant to a particular research question and then synthesize the findings to inform decisions for a particular healthcare intervention.
Once a research question has been well-defined, study inclusion is often informed by “PICOTS”:
- Population – who do you want to include in your review?
- Interventions – what intervention (treatment) are you interested in?
- Comparisons – what interventions are included as a comparison?
- Outcomes – what outcome are you interested in?
- Timeframes – what timeframe will your study explore?
- Study Design – what study designs will be included in your review (e.g. RCTs)?
Studies are typically drawn from multiple databases, and are screened in two levels for relevance (abstract screening and full text screening) by two independent reviewers. Following the study selection process, studies are quality appraised or assessed for risk of bias. Information from the included studies are typically extracted into evidence tables and the findings are narratively synthesized. If there are consistent outcomes reported by numerous studies, statistical analysis may be performed to pool the findings and increase the robustness of the results (e.g. meta-analysis).
Medlior has a team of experienced systematic reviewers and medical librarians to assist with the design and execution of robust systematic reviews. http://www.medlior.com/literature-reviews.htm