Different Methods of Evaluating Evidence

Different Methods of Evaluating Evidence, Compare and Contrast

Name TWO different methods for evaluating evidence. COMPARE and CONTRAST these two methods.

There are two major methods used to evaluate nursing research evidence: systematic review and meta-analysis. A systematic review refers to an approach that involves detailed location and assessment of literature for the purpose of answering a given question (Ahn & Kang, 2018; Akhter et al., 2019). This method requires the researcher to summarize and analyze all the available empirical evidence that meets specified criteria for eligibility (Tawfik et al., 2019). Systematic reviews are important in the field of nursing since they lead to generation of new findings that can be used in making critical clinical decisions.

On its part, a meta-analysis is a method that entails combining and summarizing statistical results of relevant studies (Akhter et al., 2019; Tawfik et al., 2019). The aim of this approach is to come up with precise estimates of a phenomenon that is under investigation. A meta-analysis is a form of systematic review (Tawfik et al., 2019). This is due to the fact that it allows the researcher to summarize data from multiple sources. In nursing, meta-analysis presents high-quality evidence since it involves the synthesis of relevant information.


There are many ways in which systematic review and meta-analysis are similar. To begin with, both approaches are vital methods of reviewing literature. As a result, they are regarded as secondary methods of collecting data (Bowen & Forrest, 2017; Tawfik et al., 2019). Both methods use similar systematic approaches to analyze various pieces of evidence (Bowen & Forrest, 2017). For instance, literature that is to be reviewed must meet certain eligibility criteria, including specific date and language of publication, and relevance to the topic of study.

Meta-analysis and systematic reviews are based on appraisal of both published and unpublished scholarly literature in a transparent manner (Titler et al., 2016; Petiprin, 2020). This means that these methods lead to significant findings that can be relied upon. It is also important to note that the analysis of data using the two approaches involves independent panels of experts in a given field of study (Titler et al., 2016). This helps to improve the validity of the findings. Moreover, both approaches are comprehensive since they do not rely on the views of a single author (Titler et al., 2016). This is important for the researcher not to make conclusions that are biased.


Although systematic review and meta-analysis are in a way similar to an extent that they are sometimes used interchangeably, it needs to be pointed out that these methods are different from each other. A systematic review gives a summary of various literature findings on a topic that is specified. This if normally done in a descriptive manner (Tawfik et al., 2019; Petiprin, 2020). It is true that this approach can clearly indentify literature gaps and inconsistent findings. However, it cannot explain the underlying reasons for such trends (Ahn & Kang, 2018). In contrast, meta-analysis uses correlations and other effect sizes of various studies in order to statistically test the hypothesis pertaining to inconsistencies in literature.

It is also important to note that data requirements for meta-analysis and systematic reviews differ significantly. Meta-analysis usually calls for more data from primary studies, and detailed information (Tawfik et al., 2019). A systematic review does not often require this. The reason as to why a meta-analysis requires a lot of data is that it is an important pre-requisite for its feasibility. In other words, conducting a meta-analysis is not often feasible. This means that the requirements for carrying out a meta-analysis are more restrictive than those of a systematic review.


Ahn, E., & Kang, H. (2018). Introduction to systematic review and meta-analysis. Korean J Anesthesiol, 71 (2): 103–112. doi: 10.4097/kjae.2018.71.2.103

Akhter, S., Pauyo, T., & Khan, M. (2019). What Is the Difference Between a Systematic Review and a Meta-analysis?. In: Musahl V. et al. (eds) Basic Methods Handbook for Clinical Orthopaedic Research. Berlin, Heidelberg: Springer. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-662-58254-1_37

Bowen, D. M., & Forrest, J. L. (2017). Translating Research for Evidence-Based Practice. Retrieved from https://pubs.royle.com/publication/?i=369630&article_id=2666624&view=articleBrowser&ver=html5

Petiprin, A. (2020). Nursing Theory. Retrieved from https://nursing-theory.org/

Tawfik, G. M., Dila, K. A. S., Mohamed, M. ,Y. F., Tam, D. N. H., Kien, N. D., Ahmed, A. M., & Huy, N. T. (2019). A step by step guide for conducting a systematic review and meta-analysis with simulation data. Tropical Medicine and Health, 47 (46). https://doi.org/10.1186/s41182-019-0165-6

Titler, M. G., Conlon, P., Reynolds, M. A., Ripley, R., Tsodikov, A., Wilson, D. S., & Montie, M. (2016). The effect of a translating research into practice intervention to promote use of evidence-based fall prevention interventions in hospitalized adults: A prospective pre-post implementation study in the U.S. Appl Nurs Res, 31:52-9. doi: 10.1016/j.apnr.2015.12.004

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