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Systematic Reviews

This guide lists resources related to conducting a Systematic Review.

Extract data

Data extraction allows the team to see the data from each individual research study in a comparative fashion, and at the same time. 

Devise a form tailored to your research question to ensure you obtain all relevant information from each included study. This form will generally include details of study characteristics, participant characteristics, intervention and setting, and results and replicate aspects of your PICO question. You will need to pilot and refine this form before your final search. Ideally this form should be electronic to minimize transcription errors. 

Microsoft Excel is familiar software that may be used to create a form.  Alternatively, you can use the editable template from Cochrane linked below:

Assess quality of included studies

Critical appraisal is a systematic analysis of research articles to determine the strength of the evidence in reference to your clinical question.

Tools and checklists exist to grade levels of evidence or assess the quality of quantitative and qualitative studies. The Cochrane Handbook  for Systematic Reviews of Interventions strongly encourages researchers to use the Cochrane Risk of Bias Tool 2.0 for Cochrane reviews (Higgins, 2019, Section 8.1). 

The following are common grading scales and checklists:

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