Background: systematic reviews are considered the gold standard for health professionals and are increasingly used to support decision-making in health care. Understanding review results is of paramount importance in translating research evidence into clinical practice. Critical thinking needs to be applied to read and/or use a systematic review, as interpretation of findings can be quite challenging when the available evidence is inconclusive or uncertain.
Objectives: 1) to explain the current concepts of quality and certainty of the evidence; 2) to give a brief overview of the 'Summary of findings' table; 3) to introduce the concept of clinical significance; and 4) to reflect on translating the results of systematic reviews into clinical practice.
Description: this workshop will appeal most directly to new review authors and users of systematic reviews, including policy-makers. We will give a short presentation at the beginning of the workshop (15 to 20 minutes) to outline the scope of the session, describe group work tasks, and introduce key concepts. Then, participants will work in small groups under the guidance/supervision of the facilitators. We will try to ensure each group is formed by people with different background and expertise to bring different views and perspectives to the discussion. We will use practical examples extracted from Cochrane Reviews. The groups will have time to read, think about the interpretation of the results, and discuss the implications for practice and/or further research. Each group will then present the work done to the larger group. We will stimulate the debate on key issues, such as the relevance of outcome selection, basic interpretation of continuous and binary outcome measures, impact of the risk of bias of included studies, importance of measuring heterogeneity, and magnitude of the effects. One laptop per working group is needed, so please bring a laptop if possible. Participants may be contacted ahead of the workshop for some preliminary work (one-hour work maximum).
Groups will be working on their laptops and presenting on the screen for the wider group.