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ERIC Number: EJ1256744
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2017-Mar
Pages: 17
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-1759-2879
Risk of Bias in Overviews of Reviews: A Scoping Review of Methodological Guidance and Four-Item Checklist
Ballard, Madeleine; Montgomery, Paul
Research Synthesis Methods, v8 n1 p92-108 Mar 2017
Objective: To assess the conditions under which employing an overview of systematic reviews is likely to lead to a high risk of bias. Study Design: To synthesise existing guidance concerning overview practice, a scoping review was conducted. Four electronic databases were searched with a pre-specified strategy (PROSPERO 2015:CRD42015027592) ending October 2015. Included studies needed to describe or develop overview methodology. Data were narratively synthesised to delineate areas highlighted as outstanding challenges or where methodological recommendations conflict. Results: Twenty-four papers met the inclusion criteria. There is emerging debate regarding overlapping systematic reviews; systematic review scope; quality of included research; updating; and synthesizing and reporting results. While three functions for overviews have been proposed--identify gaps, explore heterogeneity, summarize evidence--overviews cannot perform the first; are unlikely to achieve the second and third simultaneously; and can only perform the third under specific circumstances. Namely, when identified systematic reviews meet the following four conditions: (1) include primary trials that do not substantially overlap, (2) match overview scope, (3) are of high methodological quality, and (4) are up-to-date. Conclusion: Considering the intended function of proposed overviews with the corresponding methodological conditions may improve the quality of this burgeoning publication type.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Information Analyses; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A