Secondary research uses information that has already been compiled and formatted. 
One common form of secondary research drawing on existing research is a summary and/or synthesis of studies completed by others. It is a ‘study of studies’ often across contexts and/or populations.
Rigorous reviews of the evidence help everyone to make informed decisions about care. Evidence synthesis refers to methods used to bring together the findings of completed research to summarise what is known from that research on a specific topic.
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Reviews help clinicians by:
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In health care, meta-analysis and systematic reviews are highly ranked because of the rigorous approach taken to searching for all relevant studies and the measures taken to account for bias.  While systematic reviews provide the most thorough examination of available evidence they require a lot of time and resources. In the policy context, timeliness matters and time limited formats such as rapid reviews or policy briefs are common. The following lists some of the review types.
If you want to prepare your own review of evidence there are some tasks common across the different formats that you will need to consider, these are listed below.  If you are looking for more on how to prepare a review visit University of South Australia's modules on Systematic reviews and Scoping reviews. For guidance on preparing policy syntheses you could read the BMJ SUPPORT Tools series of articles.
Page created 13 April 2022