A systematic review is answering the defined questions with the help of empirical evidence collected in the process of the data collection. Therefore, questions are very important as they define the road map of the research study. The systematic review revolves around those defined questions. On the other hand, meta-analysis is the statistical method to encapsulate the findings of the study. A meta-analysis is the summary of your key finding in the shape of numbers. Here are some of the very important steps you need to conduct a systematic review and meta-analysis with simulation data.
Research Objectives And Question:
First and foremost, you need to set the course of the study by clearly defining the objectives and research question of your research study. As you know, a systematic review revolves around the pre-defined questions by the researcher. Therefore, the question must be clear, precise and narrowly scoped. The narrow scope of questions will not let you distract from the topic. Furthermore, you must also be clear about the objectives and aims of your reach study.
You can use tools to formulate the questions such as PICO (Population, Intervention, Comparison, Outcome) and SPIDER (Sample, Phenomenon of Interest, Design, Evaluation, Research type). PICO is a more appropriate tool when you have to gather quantitative evidence. While SPIDER is used for the qualitative nature research methods or mixed methods.
Initial Research And Idea Validation:
It is important to conduct preliminary research to find the relevant material about the proposed idea. In addition, it will ensure the validity of your proposed idea that whether it is feasible or not. Furthermore, initial research will help you to avoid duplication of the research question. For example, if someone has already conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis of your intended questions then no one will be interested in your findings. Therefore, it is very important to have initial research and validate your idea.
Inclusion And Exclusion Criteria:
Inclusion and exclusion criteria are based on the questions and study design. You have to exclude all the irrelevant, unreliable, unauthentic and duplicated information to conduct a systematic review and meta-analysis. On contrary, collect the information answering your research question. You need to double-check the reliability of the source of information. You must include the information which is reviewed by peers. The information must be relevant, concise and clear to answer the question. Ignore all the vague statements and do also include the negative information to answer your question.
It is one of the technical and complex tasks of a systematic review and meta-analysis. You have to explore different databases to fetch the most relevant and appropriate information. You might need to contact experts in the field for collecting the non-published material. You can add free-text terms to retrieve the appropriate data. Your basic search strategy needs to be based on the research question formulation.
Search Databases And Export all the results To An Excel Sheet:
Recommended by a dissertation help firm, you need to explore at least two databases to get the most relevant data to conduct a systematic review and meta-analysis. As you increase the number of databases, you will have more comprehensive and accurate data. Furthermore, you will also have a diversified collection of data. You must collect all the data at a place to remove the duplication of data. The set of information that has the same author name, title, and published in the same year and journal must be deleted. After that, you can export all the remaining results to an Excel sheet.
Protocol Writing And Registration:
It is very important to ensure transparency in the research process. It also avoids the repetition of the same ideas. Therefore, you need to write and register a protocol for the research process. It serves as the evidence of the whole activity of research including team plan of action and pre-analysis plan. Hence, it is recommended to send it to the principal investigator to double-check and upload it on the site.
Title And Abstract Screening:
To minimize the possibility of including non-relevant articles, you must assess your collection of data once again. The assessment must be based on the eligibility criteria of your data collection. In common practice, two reviewers work independently to scrutinize the set of information. This is the manual way of removing duplications. There can be also three reviewers to expedite this process. Furthermore. It also minimizes the chances of a deadlock between reviewers as you will have the opinion of the third one.
Full-Text Downloading And Screening:
You can make a team of 2-3 persons who can decide about the exclusion and inclusion of any information based on eligibility criteria. Several databases allow you to download full-text research articles. Otherwise, you can also visit different websites like ResearchGate to download full-text articles or journals. In addition, you can also purchase articles if available.
It is an effort to refine the yield of data when you are going to conduct a systematic review. First of all, you need to search the reference list of included articles. Second, you must track the citation of articles. Third, search the similar or related articles in the database. This activity can be performed by 2-3 reviewers. You need to mention the number of newly added articles separately.
Data Extraction And Quality Assessment:
Data extraction allows us to see each study simultaneously in a comparative manner. You need to find the data to be extracted. The data replication form will copy all the aspects of your PICO question. You can use tools like Google Forms, Word, Excel, etc. for the data extraction. It will allow you to test your data extraction form or data table. After the screening and review of articles, you may have identified articles that may be added to your set of information. You have to make sure of the quality of those articles before adding them in.
You need to check every included article by comparing it with its counterpart in the extraction sheet to identify the mistakes. Moreover, you need to take photos for the sake of evidence. For this purpose, 2-3 independent reviewers can be assigned. It will help in removing any type of business or human error.
You need to clean the data in the extraction sheet to conduct a systematic review and meta-analysis. It is an effort to summarizing the findings. You have to format the extraction data sheet in the format that analytical software can read it. Analysis can be comprised of two types namely qualitative and quantitative analysis. Qualitative analysis denotes the data in the systematic review. On the other hand, quantitative analysis has two main types namely meta-analysis and network meta-analysis. This statistical analysis is the key step to conduct a systematic review and meta-analysis.
Double Data Checking:
To increase quality assurance, it is recommended to recheck the analysed data. it can be carried out with evidence photos. It will allow the principal investigator to check the study thoroughly.
Archiving and Updating:
You have to ensure that it is submitted and published successfully. You might need to register with the relevant database if necessary. Furthermore, you need to keep in mind that research will progress and you may need to update it. Therefore, it is vital to keep a record of your search and data extraction to conduct a systematic review and meta-analysis.