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Systematic reviews, scoping reviews and other evidence syntheses

Overview of evidence synthesis reviews and relevant strategies, tools and resources.

Reporting results: use a reporting guideline

Reporting Guidelines: what are they?

  • Every major study methodology, including systematic reviews, has a reporting guideline which includes:
    • Checklist
      • What should be included
        • The sections of a paper
        • The topics & elements to include in each section
    • Explanation & Elaboration (E&E)
      • The purpose of the element
      • Examples/best practice for describing the element

Why use a reporting guideline?

Reporting guidelines guide authors in communicating the results of research studies -- including evidence synthesis reviews -- clearly. Using reporting guidelines enhances transparency and reproducibility.

Reporting guidelines help resolve problems such as:

  • Omitting important information from Methods sections e.g. participant eligibility criteria, outcome measures, intervention details
  • Selective reporting: only reporting on positive findings or misinterpreting findings to make them sounds positive
  • Inadequate reporting of study harms
  • Replication issues: is search strategies are not properly reported in evidence syntheses, the search cannot be replicated

Reporting guidelines: examples

PRISMA: Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses

  • PRISMA "is an evidence-based minimum set of items for reporting in systematic reviews and meta-analyses"
    • focuses on systematic reviews of randomized trials; can also be used for reporting systematic reviews of other types of research, particularly evaluations of interventions
  • PRISMA includes:

PRISMA Extensions

National Academy of Medicine: Standards for Reporting Systematic Reviews

  • includes guidance on reporting, writing and publishing systematic reviews

Finding reporting guidelines

EQUATOR Network - Enhancing the QUAlity and Transparency Of health Research

  • comprehensive collection of reporting guidelines & guideline extensions
    • Search for reporting guidelines:
      • Search by study type, clinical area, section of report, free text

Reference: Beyond PRISMA–Health Research Reporting Guidelines: Your new secret weapon! Helena M. VonVille, MLS, MPH. University of Pittsburgh Health Sciences Library System.