Section of the review Common error



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Section of the review

Common error

Good practice




Abstract conclusions

Repetition between results & conclusions. Conclusions which are written in the past tense may be at a high risk of simply repeating the results.







Plain Language Summary

Describing imprecise results as equivalent to ‘no effect’, ‘no difference’, ‘equally effective’ or ‘safe’.

Emphasis on uncertainty in effects rather than dichotomising effects as being present or absent:

We cannot tell from our results whether the intervention has an important effect on [outcome] because the sample size was small/the results were too imprecise to rule out a small or no effect/adverse events were rare.’






Background

Lack of clarity as to importance of review question. Existence of relevant studies on its own is not sufficient, e.g.

We are conducting this systematic review because there are a number of studies in the area’




We are conducting this systematic review to e.g.: explore uncertainty arising from conflicting results in a number of studies in this area/ controversy arising from a policy/regulatory decision.’







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