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Centre for Evidence-
Based Medicine

Is this a systematic review of randomised trials?

In our discussion of single therapy trials, we reviewed how randomised trials are susceptible to less bias than nonrandomised trials. Systematic reviews of RCTs provide the highest level of evidence but systematic reviews of trials that are of lower quality can compound the problems of the individually misleading trials and produce a lower quality of evidence.

The review we found is a Cochrane review and follows the methodology outlined by the Methods Group. It includes randomised and quasi-randomised trials comparing inpatient stroke unit care with conventional care.

  1. Is this a systematic review of randomised trials?
  2. Does it include a methods section that describes: a) finding and including all the relevant trials, and b) assessing their individual validity?
  3. Were the results consistent from study to study?

    A finer point:
  4. Were individual patient data (or aggregate data) used in the analysis?