Applicability and generalisability of the results of systematic reviews to public health practice and policy: a systematic review

Ref ID 15
First Author N. Ahmad
Year Of Publishing 2010
Keywords Cochrane
External validity
Public health
Non-Cochrane reviews
Problem(s) Ignores setting or context of included studies which limits review applicability
Individual study characteristics not reported sufficiently
Cochrane reviews more rigorous/higher quality than non-Cochrane reviews
Failure to consider equity, different socioeconomic groups or disadvantaged populations
Number of systematic reviews included 98
Summary of Findings There was a lack of consideration of applicability of results in the 98 included systematic reviews of tobacco consumption and HIV infection. The setting of the individual studies was reported in 45 (46%) of the systematic reviews, the number of centres in 21 (21%), and the country where the trial took place in 62 (63%). Inclusion and exclusion criteria of the included studies were reported in 16 (16%) and 13 (13%) of the reviews, respectively. Baseline characteristics of participants in the included studies were described in 59 (60%) of the reviews. These characteristics concerned age in about half of the reviews, sex in 46 (47%), and ethnicity in 9 (9%). Applicability of results was discussed in 13 (13%) of the systematic reviews. The reporting was better in systematic reviews by the Cochrane Collaboration than by non-Cochrane groups.
Did the article find that the problem(s) led to qualitative changes in interpretation of the results? Not Applicable
Are the methods of the article described in enough detail to replicate the study? Yes