Task Analysis of Systematic Reviewing

Core Tasks of Systematic Reviewing

Systematic reviews are reviews of the scientific literature that follow a methodology for minimizing bias in study retrieval and interpretation. Systematic reviews that include a quantitative synthesis of trial results are also called quantitative overviews or meta-analyses.

The performance of a systematic review consists of the following five core tasks. Click on the headings to see how we have decomposed these top-level tasks into subtasks, methods, and information needs. These information needs are the basis for the data modeling in our trial bank project.

  1. Trial Retrieval
    Retrieval of all trials relevant to the overall study question.
  2. Judgment of Internal Validity
    Judgment of the extent to which a trial's design and execution will yield unbiased estimates of the true underlying effect.
  3. Judgment of Generalizability
    Judgment of the extent to which a trial's results can be generalized to a setting different from that of the original trial.
  4. Quantitative Synthesis
    Use of statistical techniques such as meta-analysis for synthesizing quantitative trial results.
  5. Contextual Interpretation
    Interpretation of a trial within the full scientific, ethical, and socioeconomic context of the condition under investigation.

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