Evaluation of the quality of systematic reviews critiqued by clinical assistants in-training

Keywords: ematic reviews, AMSTAR assessment, critical appraisal skills, clinical assistants, in-training


Conduct an overview of systematic reviews (SRs) reviewed by clinical assistants (CAs) in-training. SRs relating to clinical procedures and theoretical concepts, critiqued by CAs were included. Review authors independently screened the results of the requested SRs and evaluated these using the AMSTAR-1 checklist and AMSTAR-2 tool. Differences regarding study outcomes were resolved by consultation. Articles (N=37) submitted to the researcher included 35 reviews published in accredited journals. Of the reviews, only 18 were SRs as stated in their titles and these were of mixed designs and quality; and 17 were either non-structured and biased literature or critical reviews. SR topics reviewed in-training varied; and included temporo-mandibular disorders, implants and implant-supported prosthesis. AMSTAR-1 scores were favourable; scores were low for most SRs using AMSTAR-2, including those with randomized controlled trials only, with the exception of one review that had no randomized controlled trials but fulfilled the critical domain criteria. Students’ misconceptions regarding what constitutes good SRs which are translatable into clinical practice are emphasized, impacting their learning. CAs lack of appraisal skills related to SRs which may influence clinical practices are highlighted.


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