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June 5, 2013

Synthesizing Evidence: Shifting the Focus From Individual Studies to the Body of Evidence

Author Affiliations

Author Affiliations: Knowledge and Evaluation Research Unit, College of Medicine, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota.

JAMA. 2013;309(21):2217-2218. doi:10.1001/jama.2013.5616

The research enterprise behaves as if a single study could provide the ultimate answer to a clinical question. Researchers offer overoptimistic sample-size calculations and other design features to convince funders and institutional review boards that their study will provide the answer. Medical journals and the popular media highlight single studies, too often without regard to similar studies. Only a small proportion of trials have been synthesized into systematic reviews.1

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