SUPPORT Tools for evidence-informed health Policymaking (STP) 7: finding systematic reviews

    Publication year: 2009

    This article is part of a series written for people responsible for making decisions about health policies and programmes and for those who support these decision makers. Systematic reviews are increasingly seen as a key source of information in policymaking, particularly in terms of assisting with descriptions of the impacts of options. Relative to single studies they offer a number of advantages related to understanding impacts and are also seen as a key source of information for clarifying problems and providing complementary perspectives on options. Systematic reviews can be undertaken to place problems in comparative perspective and to describe the likely harms of an option. They also assist with understanding the meanings that individuals or groups attach to a problem, how and why options work, and stakeholder views and experiences related to particular options. A number of constraints have hindered the wider use of systematic reviews in policymaking.

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