Summarizing study characteristics and preparing for synthesis

Joanne E. McKenzie, Sue E. Brennan, Rebecca E. Ryan, Hilary J. Thomson, Renea V. Johnson

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (Book)Researchpeer-review


Key Points:
- Synthesis is a process of bringing together data from a set of included studies with the aim of drawing conclusions about a body of evidence. This will include synthesis of study characteristics and, potentially, statistical synthesis of study findings.
- A general framework for synthesis can be used to guide the process of planning the comparisons, preparing for synthesis, undertaking the synthesis, and interpreting and describing the results.
- Tabulation of study characteristics aids the examination and comparison of PICO elements across studies, facilitates synthesis of these characteristics and grouping of studies for statistical synthesis.
- Tabulation of extracted data from studies allows assessment of the number of studies contributing to a particular meta-analysis, and helps determine what other statistical synthesis methods might be used if meta-analysis is not possible.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationCochrane Handbook for Systematic Reviews of Interventions
EditorsJulian P.T. Higgins, James Thomas, Jacqueline Chandler, Miranda Cumpston, Tianjing Li, Matthew J. Page, Vivian A. Welch
Place of PublicationChichester UK
PublisherJohn Wiley & Sons
Number of pages12
ISBN (Electronic)9781119536611
ISBN (Print)9781119536628
Publication statusPublished - 5 Oct 2019


  • systematic review
  • Evidence synthesis
  • Evidence review
  • Research methodology

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