Missing Evidence

An inquiry into the delayed publication of government-comissioned research

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Nominations for the Maddox Prize for Standing up for Science

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'The Ugly Truth'

by Tracey Brown, director of Sense About Science

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Measuring government transparency

New framework rates use of evidence

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Sense About Systematic Reviews

An introduction to the way in which scientists interpret all of the research done in a particular field

Scientists use systematic review to interpret the results of individual studies in the context of other research that has been done. They can end confusion, by pooling data from different studies, highlight where there is enough evidence and where more evidence is needed and can give new insights into the research.

Systematic reviews are scientific studies, so they must use rigorous methods. The research question must be carefully identified and defined. All available evidence to answer the research question must then be identified, the researchers must search for all published peer-reviewed studies and any unpublished data that may be relevant. However, care is also taken to ensure that the standard of the evidence is high. If studies have flaws in them, they must be excluded, only then can the evidence in the field be accurately assessed.

Document type: Sense About

Published: 1 November 2009

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