Systematic reviews may or may not include a meta-analysis of the primary RCTs identified. Although systematic reviews of RCTs with meta-analysis are often said to provide the most compelling evidence of effectiveness and causality, not all systematic reviews are of the highest methodological quality. 

There are numerous checklists available. The SR toolbox is an online catalogue providing summaries and links to the available guidance and software for each stage of the systematic review process including critical appraisal. Examples for systematic reviews include:

  • AMSTAR 2 (A MeaSurement Tool to Assess systematic Reviews)
  • CASP systematic review checklist.

The following framework forms an initial memory aid for assessing the quality of a systematic review.

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