The term ‘evidence synthesis’ describes a range of methodological approaches used to systematically review, appraise, and summarise evidence on a specific area.
The approaches differ from conventional literature reviews or narrative reviews, which are not required to have a specified search strategy or methodology for appraising evidence, and usually present a personal perspective or opinion.
There are three main types of evidence syntheses: rapid reviews, systematic reviews, and scoping reviews.
All have key principles in common, which includes the formulation of a structured question, a systematic search of the available literature, a defined process of reviewing and selecting suitable publications, and a methodology for analysing the final included evidence.
Evidence synthesis is still not widely used in the equine veterinary world, despite its recognised value in human evidence-based medicine.
In the new virtual collection, the EVJ discusses the what and the why of this important evaluation method, as well as providing free access to all the equine veterinary evidence reviews published to date, including:
“Evidence synthesis makes an important contribution towards generating the evidence base which underpins equine clinical practice,” said Professor Sarah Freeman. “The challenge compared to human medicine is that equine veterinary data sets are much smaller, and study approaches and methodologies often vary significantly which means that it may not be possible to combine or collate data sets.
“Given this shortfall, scoping reviews can be helpful to identify what information is out there, find areas where a systematic review could be performed, and provide a useful summary for all the studies in a particular area.”
Professor Celia Marr, Editor of the EVJ said: “As increasing numbers of evidence syntheses are published, they will expand our understanding of the current bodies of evidence in veterinary medicine.
“The existing studies are already informing us on how we use evidence in our practices and policies, and it is encouraging to anticipate how they will shape our development of future research, to generate the best evidence as the norm, in every case.”
The virtual issue can be found at https://beva.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/toc/10.1001/(ISSN)2042-3306.evidence-synthesis-collection
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Publishing Editor: Arlo Guthrie
Clinical Editor: Alasdair Hotston Moore MA VetMB CertSAC CertVR CertSAS FRCVS
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