A systematic review (SR) is a literature review that involves systematically locating, appraising, and synthesising evidence from scientific studies to answer a defined research question based on pre-specified criteria.
The methods of a systematic review (and meta-analysis) should be transparent and reproducible. This means that the methods are planned, conducted, and reported in a way that can be repeated by other research groups.
A meta-analysis is a method of combining quantitative results from individual studies identified through systematic review in an overall statistical analysis.
There are many differences between preclinical and clinical systematic reviews, which is why we developed this Wiki, specific to preclinical systematic review methodology.
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There are many reasons to perform preclinical systematic reviews:
- To summarise evidence from multiple similar studies to allow for more accurate estimates of effect
- The methods used to find and select studies are transparent and reproducible, reducing bias and increasing the likeliness of producing reliable and accurate conclusions.
- Summarise findings from all available studies making information easier for the end-user to read and understand
- Analyse individual study quality to inform confidence in the results
- Quantitative synthesis of results (meta-analysis)
- Allow for evidence-based inferences
The results of preclinical systematic reviews can:
- Provide evidence to change research practice by identifying risks of bias in preclinical experiments
- Influence development of reporting guidelines and editorial policies
- Provide evidence to support reporting of positive, negative and neutral results through detection of publication bias
- Identify study design features that compromise potential clinical application
- Contribute to evidence-based clinical trial design