What is Evidence Synthesis?

What do we mean when we use the term “evidence synthesis”? In the broadest terms, evidence synthesis describes the act of combining and analyzing existing information to learn what’s known and not known about a particular topic and perhaps, to make a decision. The act of using Angie’s List to hire the right plumber or Yelp to find a place to eat a delicious dinner in a romantic spot can count as evidence synthesis.

But in this course, we’ll be talking about forms of evidence syntheses that follow rigorous and systematic protocols. When the Center for Evidence Synthesis in Health conducts evidence synthesis, it addresses a well-defined question or questions, comprehensively searches for all relevant information and uses validated analytic methods.

Our center uses evidence synthesis to answer health care related questions, but the tools you learn in this course can be useful for any discipline.