Over two million biomedical papers are published each year, making it impossible for health care workers to keep up to date on current knowledge. Reviews are needed to provide manageable information on which decisions on health policy, and individual treatment, can be based. But how can the quality of these reviews be judged? The report of a systematic review, like a primary research paper, contains clear descriptions of the aims of the review, and the materials and methods used by the reviewer. In this book leading practitioners of the science of reviewing biomedical research illustrate how traditional reviews sometimes arrive at lethally incorrect conclusions and show how the quality of reviews can be improved. Topics include: the rationale for systematic reviews; data collection; statistical synthesis of data from similar studies (meta-analysis); checklists for assessing the quality of review articles; updating and correction of reports; identifying relevant studies. This important book will be invaluable to health care providers, researchers, policy makers, and everyone else who is trying to keep up to date with the results of health care research.