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It is important to evaluate your collected evidence when considering the implementation of an evidence-based practice change.Two methods for evaluating evidence are systematic reviews and meta-analysis.Below is a summary and comparison of both.
Systematic reviews help summarize results of studies such as controlled trials (Cochrane Consumer Network [CCN], n.d.).They provide evidence of the effectiveness of the intervention that is being studied (CCN, n.d.).Systematic review is done using existing evidence to answer a clinical question and is unbiased (Bigby, 2014).
Meta-analysis is a systematic review that includes quantitative information of like-studies, to produce an overall summary (Bigby, 2014).Meta-Analysis is a good method to use when using statistical numbers that allow a summarization of study outcomes.When there are consistencies between studies, meta-analysis can identify the common aspect.
Meta-analysis and systematic review have some differences.Systematic reviews take findings for the whole range of relevant information of a topic (Akobeng, 2005).Meta-analysis on the other hand, adds a dimension of power and precision to estimates of the effects of treatments (Akobeng, 2005).The use of both of these methodologies when evaluating healthcare studies can be a powerful tool.
Akobeng, A. K. (2005). Understanding systematic reviews and meta-analysis. Retrieved from
Bigby, M. (2014). Understanding and evaluating systematic reviews and meta-analyses. Indian Journal
of Dermatology, 59(2), 134. doi:10.4103/0019-5154.127671
Cochrane Consumer Network. (n.d.). What is a systematic review? Retrieved from
Evidence-based researches are always being conducted and it is crucial to find the most effective method to evaluate the evidences that are being published. We are encouraged to perform and practice based off of evidence-based research and for this reason thorough evaluation is much needed.
Systemic review is a type of review that is collected systematically to review a particular study, which can be either qualitative or quantitative. Systematic reviews are different from traditional narrative reviews. Systematic reviews, as the name implies, typically involve a detailed and comprehensive plan and search strategy derived a priori, with the goal of reducing bias by identifying, appraising, and synthesizing all relevant studies on a particular topic. Often, systematic reviews include a meta-analysis component, which involves using statistical techniques to synthesize the data from several studies into a single quantitative estimate or summary effect size (Uman, 2011).Meta analysis is a research process used to systematically synthesise or merge the findings of single, independent studies, using statistical methods to calculate an overall or ‘absolute’ effect (Shorten & Shorten, 2012). This process sees the overall findings and data of the studies to find the consistency and outcome of each study. From these multiple findings, an analysis can be designed. Both systemic review and meta analysis work together because without a systemic review, a meta analysis cannot be formulated. Meta analysis is finalized from numerous independent studies/reviews and finalized to oversee the overall trend and conclusion within the studies.
Shorten A, Shorten B. (2012). What is meta-analysis? Evidence-Based Nursing 2013;16:3-4.
Uman L. S. (2011). Systematic reviews and meta-analyses. Journal of the Canadian Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry = Journal de l’Academie canadienne de psychiatrie de l’enfant et de l’adolescent, 20(1), 57–59.
Two frequently used evidence evaluation methods are systematic review and meta-analysis. These two are often mentioned together and misunderstood as the same (Ahn & Kang, 2018). But they are actually different.
Systematic evaluation, also known as systematic review, refers to the process of applying a clear method, querying, selecting, and rigorously evaluating relevant research, extracting data from it, and combining the data using appropriate statistical methods to reach at a comprehensive conclusion. Systematic reviews can provide evidence to address a specific clinical problem. Others have defined the systematic review as rigorously summarizing and analyzing all studies on a particular problem using strategies or analytical methods that reduce bias.
Meta-analysis is also systematic reviews, which use a statistical method that combines the results of several studies into a single estimate in a literature review. Simply put, Meta analysis is a type of statistical method, with completely random design, factorial design, and so on. Meta-analysis (MA) may or may not be a subset of systematic reviews depending on the nature of the studies included in the review.
A systematic review does not necessarily require a meta-analysis. A systematic review with no meta-analysis and only descriptive analysis is called a qualitative systematic review. A systematic review of meta-analysis of multiple studies is called a quantitative system review (Rys et al., 2009).
But there are also different views that the definition of meta-analysis should be broader and equate it with systematic reviews. This idea is particularly widely used in the title of the literature. We can often see the title of the article as “meta analysis of a certain problem.” However, it should be noted that meta-analysis cannot be equal to systematic reviews.
Ahn, E. & Kang, H. (2018). Introduction to systematic review and meta-analysis. Korean journal of anesthesiology, 71, 103-112.
Rys, P., Wladysiuk, M., Skrzekowska-Baran, I. & Malecki, M. T. (2009). Review articles, systematic reviews and meta-analyses: which can be trusted? Pol Arch Med Wewn, 119, 148-156.