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The practise of evidence-based medicine is a process of lifelong learning that requires up-to-date and insightful syntheses of existing evidence. Systematic reviews and meta-analyses are an effective method for consolidating high-volume, rapidly accruing and often conflicting scientific studies on a specific topic. Systematic reviews are crucial for the avoidance of research waste, by ensuring that new primary research is performed with full knowledge of what has already been conducted, and that new research evidence is interpreted in light of what is already known.1 Systematic reviews have become an invaluable resource in the sports medicine and rehabilitation literature that generates high-quality evidence and enhance clinical decision-making.
A successful systematic review project depends on how well the authors formulate the research question based on their preliminary search and/or their clinical interest. Each systematic review type needs a specific review question format to help authors focus specifically on elements related to their study. The current proliferation of review types is creating challenges to the terminology for describing such reviews.2 Hence, this paper aims to summarise and propose several formats to generate appropriate review questions in the field of sports medicine and rehabilitation research.
Different types of systematic reviews
Systematic review methodology was pioneered in health sciences in the 1980s, and the number of systematic reviews published each year has exponentially increased since 1990. A preliminary search in the PubMed database showed that annual publications of systematic reviews in …
Contributors All authors contributed to the conception of this editorial. MP wrote the first draft of the manuscript. SD, BK, AK, MN and MAM suggested critical revisions and approved the final manuscript.
Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.
Competing interests None declared.
Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.
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