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Reviews: Making Sense of an Often Tangled Skein of Evidence

The Editors
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Potential Financial Conflicts of Interest: None disclosed.

Requests for Single Reprints: Customer Service, American College of Physicians, 190 N. Independence Mall West, Philadelphia, PA 19106.

Ann Intern Med. 2005;142(12_Part_1):1019-1020. doi:10.7326/0003-4819-142-12_Part_1-200506210-00013
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Medical science is an intricately detailed tapestry of evidence, woven over many decades, from tens of thousands of hypotheses and observations. Astute observers rarely discern the tapestry's pattern from single studies; they know that a single study seldom allows people to see a pattern that changes insight and clinical practice. Far more often, medical practice changes only after a body of evidence accumulates to the point of revealing meaningful patterns. Recognizing the central role of evidence synthesis in shaping standards for clinical practice, Annals places a high priority on publishing up-to-date summative articles. This editorial offers advice for review artisans who hope to see their wares on display in Annals. In an accompanying supplement sponsored by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (part 2 of this issue), authors from the North American Evidence-based Practice Centers offer detailed advice on how to do systematic reviews, how to compile evidence reports, and how to handle the many methodologic challenges involved in writing systematic reviews.





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