0

The full content of Annals is available to subscribers

Subscribe/Learn More  >
Academia and the Profession |

Selecting and Appraising Studies for a Systematic Review

Maureen O. Meade, MD, FRCPC, MSc; and W. Scott Richardson, MD
[+] Article and Author Information

From the University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada; and the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry, Rochester, New York. Acknowledgment: The authors thank the clinical reviewer, Norman J. Wilder. Requests for Reprints: Deborah Cook, MD, MSc, Department of Medicine, Division of Critical Care, St. Joseph's Hospital, 50 Charlton Avenue East, Hamilton, Ontario L8N 4A6, Canada. Current Author Addresses: Dr. Meade: The Wellesley-Central Hospital, Room 244, Jones Building, 150 Wellesley Street East, Toronto, Ontario M4Y 1J3, Canada.


Copyright ©2004 by the American College of Physicians


Ann Intern Med. 1997;127(7):531-537. doi:10.7326/0003-4819-127-7-199710010-00005
Text Size: A A A

After thoroughly searching the potentially relevant literature for a systematic review, reviewers face the sequential tasks of selecting studies for inclusion and appraising these studies.Methodical, impartial, and reliable strategies are necessary for these two tasks because systematic reviews are retrospective exercises and are therefore prone to both bias and random error. To plan for study selection, reviewers begin with a focused clinical question and choose selection criteria that reflect this question. A detailed selection protocol that specifies the study designs and publication status of articles to be included is often helpful. Selection criteria are itemized on customized forms and are used to examine each potentially relevant primary study, usually by two different reviewers. In planning the critical appraisal of included studies, reviewers decide which clinical and methodologic study features require documentation. After choosing methods for evaluating study quality, reviewers construct customized appraisal forms and an explicit protocol for the actual evaluation. Some of the techniques commonly used to minimize the potential for error in study appraisal include duplicate, independent examination; blinding to study results and other identifying features of each article; and correspondence with study authors to clarify issues.

Ultimately, primary studies should be selected, appraised, and reported in sufficient detail to allow readers to judge the applicability of the review to clinical practice and to clarify the strength of the inferences that can be drawn from the review.

Figures

Grahic Jump Location
Figure 1.
Example of a form that might be developed for the selection of studies for a systematic review evaluating the efficacy of β-blockers for secondary prevention of variceal bleeding.
Grahic Jump Location

Tables

References

Letters

NOTE:
Citing articles are presented as examples only. In non-demo SCM6 implementation, integration with CrossRef’s "Cited By" API will populate this tab (http://www.crossref.org/citedby.html).

Comments

Submit a Comment
Submit a Comment

Summary for Patients

Clinical Slide Sets

Terms of Use

The In the Clinic® slide sets are owned and copyrighted by the American College of Physicians (ACP). All text, graphics, trademarks, and other intellectual property incorporated into the slide sets remain the sole and exclusive property of the ACP. The slide sets may be used only by the person who downloads or purchases them and only for the purpose of presenting them during not-for-profit educational activities. Users may incorporate the entire slide set or selected individual slides into their own teaching presentations but may not alter the content of the slides in any way or remove the ACP copyright notice. Users may make print copies for use as hand-outs for the audience the user is personally addressing but may not otherwise reproduce or distribute the slides by any means or media, including but not limited to sending them as e-mail attachments, posting them on Internet or Intranet sites, publishing them in meeting proceedings, or making them available for sale or distribution in any unauthorized form, without the express written permission of the ACP. Unauthorized use of the In the Clinic slide sets will constitute copyright infringement.

Toolkit

Buy Now

to gain full access to the content and tools.

Want to Subscribe?

Learn more about subscription options

Advertisement
Related Articles
Related Point of Care
Topic Collections
Forgot your password?
Enter your username and email address. We'll send you a reminder to the email address on record.
(Required)
(Required)