April 17, 2009
Repost: Whatâs Behind the Cochrane? (orâ¦, âThe Good News About Midwives Gets Better!â)
By: Amy M. Romano, RN,CNM | 0 Comments
Often, the closer I look at a study, the less confident I become about the results. I've learned that you can't always trust a paper's title or abstract, and media coverage of new studies can be woefully misleading, even when it is not carefully orchestrated by those with a vested interest (which it often is). Being advocates for 'evidence-based care' means not just knowing that a study has been published, but knowing whether that study is any good, and in what circumstances (if any) the results are relevant and reliable. It also means having our guard up against deeply flawed studies that shape policy and practice despite their limitations. (Henci Goer has done a fantastic job deconstructing some of these influential studies in her series, When Research is Flawed.)
A systematic review synthesizes all of the literature on a given topic, using rigorous criteria for which studies will be included. For instance, Cochrane systematic reviews are typically confined to randomized, controlled trials in which there is no evidence that the randomization process has been intentionally subverted. For this reason, Cochrane reviews are considered the 'gold standard' of evidence.
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