TABLE F-1 Comparison of Chapter 4 Guidance on Conducting Systematic Reviews (SRs) of Comparative Effectiveness Research

Standards and Elements

Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality  (AHRQ) Effective Health Care Program

Centre for Reviews and Dissemination (CRD)

The Cochrane  Collaboration

4.1 Use a prespecified method to evaluate the body of evidence

The AHRQ method for evaluating the body of evidence is conceptually similar to the GRADE system (see below).

The planned approach to evaluating the body of evidence should be decided at the outset of the review, depending on the type of question posed and the type of studies that are likely to be available.

Adopts the GRADE system for evaluating the body of evidence.

4.1.1 For each outcome, systematically assess the following characteristics of the body of evidence:

  • Risk of bias

  • Consistency

  • Precision

  • Directness

  • Reporting bias

Requires the assessment of:

  • Risk of bias.

  • Consistency.

  • Precision.

  • Directness.

  • Applicability.

  • Publication bias (if there is reason to believe that relevant empirical findings have not been published).

Quality assessment is likely to consider the following:

  • Appropriateness of study design.

  • Risk of bias.

  • Choice of outcome measure.

  • Statistical issues.

  • Quality of reporting.

  • Quality of the intervention.

  • Generalizability.

Requires the assessment of:

  • Risk of bias.

  • Consistency.

  • Precision.

  • Directness.

  • Publication bias.

Reviewers should evaluate the applicability of a body of evidence as part of the assessment of directness.

Reviewers should evaluate the applicability of a body of evidence separately from directness.

The importance of each of these aspects of quality will depend on the focus and nature of the review.



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