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J Clin Epidemiol. 2001 Jul;54(7):651-4.

The art of quality assessment of RCTs included in systematic reviews.

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Department of Epidemiology, Maastricht University, Maastricht, The Netherlands. Verhagen@hag.fgg.eur


The best evidence on the efficacy of medical interventions is provided by high-quality trials summarized in high-quality systematic reviews or meta-analyses. The methodological quality of studies included in a systematic review can have a substantial impact on the estimates of the treatment effect and therefore on the conclusions of such a review. But what is the empirical evidence to support quality assessment of randomized clinical trials (RCTs)? We elaborate on questions such as: what is the concept of quality of individual studies (RCTs), can quality be measured validly and reliably? Plans for future research on this issue are proposed.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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