Our objective was to develop a framework to identify research gaps from systematic reviews.
We reviewed the practices of (1) evidence-based practice centers (EPCs), and (2) other organizations that conduct evidence syntheses. We developed and pilot tested a framework for identifying research gaps.
Four (33%) EPCs and three (8%) other organizations reported using an explicit framework to determine research gaps. Variations of the PICO (population, intervention, comparison, outcomes) framework were most common. We developed a framework incorporating both the characterization of the gap using PICOS elements (also including setting) and the identification of the reason(s) why the gap exists as (1) insufficient or imprecise information, (2) biased information, (3) inconsistency or unknown consistency, and (4) not the right information. We mapped each of these reasons to concepts from three common evidence-grading systems.
Our framework determines from systematic reviews where the current evidence falls short and why or how the evidence falls short. This explicit identification of research gaps will allow systematic reviews to maximally inform the types of questions that need to be addressed and the types of studies needed to address the research gaps.
"Nasser et al report on the development and pilot of an equity lens checklist that could help researchers in developing a more equity-oriented approach toward priority setting and agenda setting in systematic reviews. A variant of this priority setting for systematic reviews is to use systematic reviews to identify research needs for primary studies (both randomized controlled trials [RCTs] and observational) . In the latest in articles from the AHRQ program, Saldanha et al developed and pilot tested a process to identify needs for primary clinical research using a systematic review in gestational diabetes mellitus. "
"In addition, it has been previously found that reviews tend to be too optimistic when drawing conclusions from their results [67,68]. It has been recommended that research gaps should be identified more systematically, rating the reasons of research gaps in terms of population, intervention, comparison, outcome and setting (PICOS), including insufficient information, biased information, inconsistency or not the right information , although this tool has been designed for reviews of intervention studies and may not be suitable for reviews of observational studies. "
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Behavioural and psychological symptoms of dementia (BPS) include depressive symptoms, anxiety, apathy, sleep problems, irritability, psychosis, wandering, elation and agitation, and are common in the non-demented and demented population.
We have undertaken a systematic review of reviews to give a broad overview of the prevalence, course, biological and psychosocial associations, care and outcomes of BPS in the older or demented population, and highlight limitations and gaps in existing research. Embase and Medline were searched for systematic reviews using search terms for BPS, dementia and ageing.
Thirty-six reviews were identified. Most investigated the prevalence or course of symptoms, while few reviewed the effects of BPS on outcomes and care. BPS were found to occur in non-demented, cognitively impaired and demented people, but reported estimates vary widely. Biological factors associated with BPS in dementia include genetic factors, homocysteine levels and vascular changes. Psychosocial factors increase risk of BPS; however, across studies and between symptoms findings are inconsistent. BPS have been associated with burden of care, caregiver's general health and caregiver depression scores, but findings are limited regarding institutionalisation, quality of life and disease outcome.
Limitations of reviews include a lack of high quality reviews, particularly of BPS other than depression. Limitations of original studies include heterogeneity in study design particularly related to measurement of BPS, level of cognitive impairment, population characteristics and participant recruitment. It is our recommendation that more high quality reviews, including all BPS, and longitudinal studies with larger sample sizes that use frequently cited instruments to measure BPS are undertaken. A better understanding of the risk factors and course of BPS will inform prevention, treatment and management and possibly improve quality of life for the patients and their carers.
Alzheimer's Research and Therapy 07/2012; 4(4):28. DOI:10.1186/alzrt131 · 3.98 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: When faced with uncertainties about the effects of medical interventions regulatory agencies, guideline developers, clinicians, and researchers commonly ask for more research, and in particular for more randomized trials. The conduct of additional randomized trials is, however, sometimes not the most efficient way to reduce uncertainty. Instead, approaches such as value of information analysis or other approaches should be used to prioritize research that will most likely reduce uncertainty and inform decisions.
In situations where additional research for specific interventions needs to be prioritized, we propose the use of quantitative benefit-harm assessments that illustrate how the benefit-harm balance may change as a consequence of additional research. The example of roflumilast for patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease shows that additional research on patient preferences (e.g., how important are exacerbations relative to psychiatric harms?) or outcome risks (e.g., what is the incidence of psychiatric outcomes in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease without treatment?) is sometimes more valuable than additional randomized trials. We propose that quantitative benefit-harm assessments have the potential to explore the impact of additional research and to identify research priorities Our approach may be seen as another type of value of information analysis and as a useful approach to stimulate specific new research that has the potential to change current estimates of the benefit-harm balance and decision making.
BMC Medicine 12/2015; 13(1):157. DOI:10.1186/s12916-015-0398-0 · 7.25 Impact Factor
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