In the hierarchy of evidence, systematic reviews are preferable to narrative reviews for answering focused clinical questions. They are conducted according to transparent and repeatable processes considering all of the published evidence, not just that of which the reviewer may have prior knowledge or favor. The process also includes assessing the quality of each study, the overall quality of the body of evidence, and a summary of the clinical results. A systematic review typically involves:
- An exhaustive search for studies (the evidence).
- Procedures to maximize objectivity and minimize bias.
- Selection of best available evidence having the strongest study design.
- Critical appraisal of the quality of each study.
- A summary of the results of the included studies.
- Interpretation of the evidence for clinicians and researchers.
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