A Primer on Performing Systematic Reviews and Meta-analyses

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Abstract

The number of systematic reviews published in the peer-reviewed literature has increased dramatically in the last decade, and for good reason. They have become an essential resource for clinicians who want unbiased and current answers for their clinical questions; researchers and funders who want to identify the most critical evidence gaps for study; payers and administrators who want to make coverage, formulary, and purchasing decisions; and policymakers who want to develop quality measures and clinical guidelines. Targeted to beginners interested in conducting their own systematic reviews and users of systematic reviews looking for a brief introduction, this primer (1) highlights the differences between review types; (2) outlines the major steps in performing a systematic review; and (3) offers a set of resources to help authors perform and report valid and actionable systematic reviews.

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