This page presents a summary of Epistemonikos’ methods. A full description is in process of submission for publication to a medical journal. Additional information can be requested to firstname.lastname@example.org
We select articles in three main categories plus one secondary category:
We group in this category different types of articles aiming to make a synthesis of systematic reviews and, sometimes, primary studies.
We consider a broad synthesis for inclusion if:
We consider a systematic review for inclusion if it fulfills the following criteria:
We also include synthesis of primary studies that do not fulfill the above definition but are judged to add valuable information. Some examples are individual patient meta-analysis or meta-analysis of unpublished data.
Primary study is an umbrella term that includes any study design, qualitative or quantitative, where data is collected from individuals or groups of people.
We read the full text of the articles in the above categories to extract the list of included studies that the authors reported, and we incorporate them to the database if they do not fulfill exclusion criteria (see below). We do not add any additional criteria to those imposed by the researchers conducting the systematic reviews.
Apart from the 3 main categories we also include a secondary category of structured summaries. Structured summaries are summaries of an article developed for non-research audiences which follow a pre-established format which include at least a critical appraisal of the article.
We do not exclude in an individual basis structured summaries that do not provide a critical appraisal of the article being summarized, but we have selected our search sources following this criterion.
We exclude articles from any of the above categories if they:
Epistemonikos was developed and is maintained by systematically searching the following databases for systematic reviews, broad synthesis or structured summaries:
We do not restrict our search for language or publication status. The primary studies included in systematic reviews that fulfill our inclusion criteria are also entered into the database independent of the source where the reviewers found them, language or publication status.
It is important to note that Epistemonikos search strategies do not aim to identify studies that are not included in reviews at this moment, so it is not a comprehensive source for these.
One collaborator includes potentially eligible systematic reviews and broad synthesis based on titles and abstract using a set of explicit criteria . A second collaborator confirms the inclusion when extracting data about the article.
Reviews identified in the list of included reviews of an broad synthesis of reviews, and articles coming from databases of structured summaries of systematic reviews (e.g. DARE, SUPPORT summaries) are included automatically, and then checked by the second collaborator when extracting data about the article.
We extract the following data from systematic reviews:
We extract the following data from primary studies:
Using the information provided in the full text of the review or in the list of primary studies we connect all the references corresponding to the same study into a publication thread