Indian Journal of Dermatology
  Publication of IADVL, WB
  Official organ of AADV
Indexed with Science Citation Index (E) , Web of Science and PubMed
Users online: 1278  
Home About  Editorial Board  Current Issue Archives Online Early Coming Soon Guidelines Subscriptions  e-Alerts    Login  
    Small font sizeDefault font sizeIncrease font size Print this page Email this page
Year : 2014  |  Volume : 59  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 134-139

Understanding and evaluating systematic reviews and meta-analyses

Department of Dermatology, Harvard Medical School, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Boston, MA 02215, USA

Correspondence Address:
Michael Bigby
Department of Dermatology, Harvard Medical School, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, 330 Brookline Avenue, Boston, MA 02215
Login to access the Email id

Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/0019-5154.127671

Rights and Permissions

A systematic review is a summary of existing evidence that answers a specific clinical question, contains a thorough, unbiased search of the relevant literature, explicit criteria for assessing studies and structured presentation of the results. A systematic review that incorporates quantitative pooling of similar studies to produce an overall summary of treatment effects is a meta-analysis. A systematic review should have clear, focused clinical objectives containing four elements expressed through the acronym PICO ( Patient, group of patients, or problem, an Intervention, a Comparison intervention and specific O utcomes). Explicit and thorough search of the literature is a pre-requisite of any good systematic review. Reviews should have pre-defined explicit criteria for what studies would be included and the analysis should include only those studies that fit the inclusion criteria. The quality (risk of bias) of the primary studies should be critically appraised. Particularly the role of publication and language bias should be acknowledged and addressed by the review, whenever possible. Structured reporting of the results with quantitative pooling of the data must be attempted, whenever appropriate. The review should include interpretation of the data, including implications for clinical practice and further research. Overall, the current quality of reporting of systematic reviews remains highly variable.

Print this article     Email this article
 Next article
 Previous article
 Table of Contents

 Similar in PUBMED
   Search Pubmed for
   Search in Google Scholar for
 Related articles
 Citation Manager
 Access Statistics
 Reader Comments
 Email Alert *
 Add to My List *
 * Requires registration (Free)

 Article Access Statistics
    PDF Downloaded143    
    Comments [Add]    

Recommend this journal