Why is evidence synthesis helpful, continued

Here are some more uses for Evidence Synthesis:

Examine whether a finding varies under different conditions
Many interventions work differently for different people or under different conditions. By combining results from different studies, it may be possible to determine how groups of individuals vary in the way they respond to interventions. Understanding this heterogeneity can help target treatments to the right patients.

Identify research gaps and needs for future studies
Because evidence synthesis takes a comprehensive look at the existing body of knowledge, it captures not only what research already exists but what research is missing. This analysis is helpful for guiding the direction of future studies. For instance, a meta analysis of studies related to the performance of limb prosthesis might find that few studies include women with prosthetic limbs and recommend research examining if performance differs between men and women.

We’ll talk more about how we do this later on in the course. First, let’s discuss the various types of evidence synthesis.