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Table 2 Assessment scheme for consistent reporting of review results

From: Building blocks for meta-synthesis: data integration tables for summarising, mapping, and synthesising evidence on interventions for communicating with health consumers

SUMMARY STATEMENT TRANSLATION CRITERIA
Sufficient evidence from trials Evidence sufficiently certain to support conclusions about the effect of the intervention(s) in relation to a specific outcome(s). This includes evidence of an effect in terms of (i) benefit or (ii) harm.
  Criteria that need to be met:
     • Statistically significant results are considered to represent sufficient evidence to support conclusions; or
     • The numbers of trials/participants included in the analysis for a particular outcome are also considered. For example: meta-analysis yielding a statistically significant pooled result based on a large number of included trials/participants; or narrative data with statistically significant results, such as 12 studies of 14 showing a significant effect of an intervention on a particular outcome.
Some evidence from trials Less conclusive evidence to make a decision about the effects of a particular intervention(s) in relation to a specific outcome(s).
  Criteria that need to be met:
     • A narrative synthesis of results, with the result qualified according to the review findings, e.g., 'some evidence (5 studies of 9) reported a positive effect of ....' A rating of 'some evidence' is based on more equivocal results than those rated as 'sufficient evidence'. For example, while 12/14 statistically significant studies would be classed as 'sufficient evidence', 5/9 statistically significant studies would be rated as 'some evidence'; or
     • A rating of 'some evidence' may also be based on a statistically significant result obtained in a small number of trials; or a statistically significant result obtained from trials with a small number of participants.
Insufficient evidence from trials Not enough evidence to support conclusions about the effects of the intervention(s) on the basis of the included studies. This should be interpreted as 'no evidence of effect', rather than 'evidence of no effect'.
  Criteria that need to be met:
     • Statistically non-significant results; or
     • Where the number of trials and/or participants is small, 'insufficient evidence' may reflect lack of power to be able to detect an effect of the intervention; or
     • Where the number of trials and/or participants is large, 'insufficient evidence' may reflect underlying ineffectiveness of the intervention.
Insufficient evidence in relation to measurement Not enough evidence to support conclusions about the effects of the intervention due to a lack of reporting on the specified outcomes.
  Criteria that need to be met:
     • The review elected not to report on a particular outcome(s) despite being reported by included trials; or
     • The review was not able to report on the outcome, as data for the outcome were not reported by included trials.