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Doody's Review ServiceReviewer: Vijaya Kancherla, MS, PhD (c)(University of Iowa College of Public Health)
Description: This is a concise introduction to reviewing quantitative and qualitative intervention research for those interested in using a systematic methodology for appraising and synthesizing individual and conflicting evidence into a pooled, unbiased, and easily interpretable format. This well laid out book provides a good perspective of the Cochrane Collaboration, its rationale and logistics for conducting systematic reviews. Chapters train readers how to design and conduct systematic reviews with many practical examples. A section on special topics covers some additional areas of significance.
Purpose: The purpose is to provide guidance to authors for the preparation of Cochrane Intervention Reviews, which also include Cochrane Overviews of reviews. An increasing number of studies are published in health research each year with conflicting evidence. Systematic reviews that are based on standard and stringent criteria are needed to synthesize such evidence and reach unbiased and error-free conclusions. As there are many questions reviewers encounter when trying to compile systematic reviews, standard documentation of guidelines is necessary to make reviews comparable and repeatable. This book serves the purpose of developing standard systematic reviews in any relevant field. It not only addresses important criteria for quantitative synthesis of data, but also tries to address some special topics that are relevant to different types of reviews.
Audience: This book is written primarily for authors who contribute to Cochrane Intervention Reviews, but it can be useful to many in the scientific community, including public health researchers, epidemiologists, medical practitioners, clinical study coordinators, and students who are interested in synthesizing evidence from multiple research studies. The book is a product of the Cochrane Collaboration, a world-renowned organization conducting systematic reviews using expert advice from 15,000 contributors from 100 countries.
Features: The first part of the book explains the logistics of conducting reviews and gives an overview of the structure and format of Cochrane Reviews. The second part trains readers on different aspects of a systematic review, starting from the initiation of a research question to reaching a valid conclusion. The authors provide thorough information on assessing bias, identifying potential threats to validity, understanding heterogeneity, and addressing reporting biases (which are of important concern in meta-analysis studies). The last section on special topics describes other types of reviews which include nonrandomized studies, individual patient-reported outcomes, and patient data. Important statistical applications are reviewed in evaluating various study designs. The book is a good resource and reference for readers, regardless of their disciplines. The key points at the beginning of each chapter orient readers to the information to be presented. Chapter subheadings that depict some of the practical questions a reader might have make the book easy to read. Information is thorough, with good examples. References are conveniently placed at the end of each chapter.
Assessment: The book meets its objective of delivering a clear and concise description of design and conduct of systematic reviews along with special topics relevant to the field of pooling evidence from multiple studies. Cochrane Collaboration is a leader in conducting scientific systematic reviews, and the contributors to this book are a group of acclaimed scientists from all over the world, making this is a unique publication in this field.