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The methodological rigour of systematic reviews in environmental health

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The methodological rigour of systematic reviews in environmental health. / Menon, J.M.L.; Struijs, F.; Whaley, Paul.

In: Critical Reviews in Toxicology, Vol. 52, No. 3, 30.09.2022, p. 167-187.

Research output: Contribution to Journal/MagazineReview articlepeer-review

Harvard

Menon, JML, Struijs, F & Whaley, P 2022, 'The methodological rigour of systematic reviews in environmental health', Critical Reviews in Toxicology, vol. 52, no. 3, pp. 167-187. https://doi.org/10.1080/10408444.2022.2082917

APA

Menon, J. M. L., Struijs, F., & Whaley, P. (2022). The methodological rigour of systematic reviews in environmental health. Critical Reviews in Toxicology, 52(3), 167-187. https://doi.org/10.1080/10408444.2022.2082917

Vancouver

Menon JML, Struijs F, Whaley P. The methodological rigour of systematic reviews in environmental health. Critical Reviews in Toxicology. 2022 Sep 30;52(3):167-187. Epub 2022 Jul 5. doi: 10.1080/10408444.2022.2082917

Author

Menon, J.M.L. ; Struijs, F. ; Whaley, Paul. / The methodological rigour of systematic reviews in environmental health. In: Critical Reviews in Toxicology. 2022 ; Vol. 52, No. 3. pp. 167-187.

Bibtex

@article{374aa59f79524410a1589ebe3d3bffc3,
title = "The methodological rigour of systematic reviews in environmental health",
abstract = "While systematic reviews (SRs) are often perceived as a “gold standard” for evidence synthesis in environmental health and toxicology, the methodological rigour with which they are currently being conducted is unclear. The objectives of this study are (1) to provide up-to-date information about the methodological rigour of environmental health SRs and (2) to test hypotheses that reference to a pre-published protocol, use of a reporting checklist, or being published in a journal with a higher impact factor, are associated with increased methodological rigour of a SR. A purposive sample of 75 contemporary SRs were assessed for how many of 11 recommended SR practices they implemented. Information including search strategies, study appraisal tools, and certainty assessment methods was extracted to contextualise the results. The included SRs implemented a median average of 6 out of 11 recommended practices. Use of a framework for assessing certainty in the evidence of a SR, reference to a pre-published protocol, and characterisation of research objectives as a complete Population-Exposure-Comparator-Outcome statement were the least common recommended practices. Reviews that referenced a pre-published protocol scored a mean average of 7.77 out of 10 against 5.39 for those that did not. Neither use of a reporting checklist nor journal impact factor was significantly associated with increased methodological rigour of a SR. Our study shows that environmental health SRs omit a range of methodological components that are important for rigour. Improving this situation will require more complex, comprehensive interventions than simple use of reporting standards.",
keywords = "Systematic review, environmental health, research quality, toxicology, research standards, evidence synthesis, critical appraisal",
author = "J.M.L. Menon and F. Struijs and Paul Whaley",
year = "2022",
month = sep,
day = "30",
doi = "10.1080/10408444.2022.2082917",
language = "English",
volume = "52",
pages = "167--187",
journal = "Critical Reviews in Toxicology",
issn = "1547-6898",
publisher = "Taylor & Francis Taylor & Francis Group",
number = "3",

}

RIS

TY - JOUR

T1 - The methodological rigour of systematic reviews in environmental health

AU - Menon, J.M.L.

AU - Struijs, F.

AU - Whaley, Paul

PY - 2022/9/30

Y1 - 2022/9/30

N2 - While systematic reviews (SRs) are often perceived as a “gold standard” for evidence synthesis in environmental health and toxicology, the methodological rigour with which they are currently being conducted is unclear. The objectives of this study are (1) to provide up-to-date information about the methodological rigour of environmental health SRs and (2) to test hypotheses that reference to a pre-published protocol, use of a reporting checklist, or being published in a journal with a higher impact factor, are associated with increased methodological rigour of a SR. A purposive sample of 75 contemporary SRs were assessed for how many of 11 recommended SR practices they implemented. Information including search strategies, study appraisal tools, and certainty assessment methods was extracted to contextualise the results. The included SRs implemented a median average of 6 out of 11 recommended practices. Use of a framework for assessing certainty in the evidence of a SR, reference to a pre-published protocol, and characterisation of research objectives as a complete Population-Exposure-Comparator-Outcome statement were the least common recommended practices. Reviews that referenced a pre-published protocol scored a mean average of 7.77 out of 10 against 5.39 for those that did not. Neither use of a reporting checklist nor journal impact factor was significantly associated with increased methodological rigour of a SR. Our study shows that environmental health SRs omit a range of methodological components that are important for rigour. Improving this situation will require more complex, comprehensive interventions than simple use of reporting standards.

AB - While systematic reviews (SRs) are often perceived as a “gold standard” for evidence synthesis in environmental health and toxicology, the methodological rigour with which they are currently being conducted is unclear. The objectives of this study are (1) to provide up-to-date information about the methodological rigour of environmental health SRs and (2) to test hypotheses that reference to a pre-published protocol, use of a reporting checklist, or being published in a journal with a higher impact factor, are associated with increased methodological rigour of a SR. A purposive sample of 75 contemporary SRs were assessed for how many of 11 recommended SR practices they implemented. Information including search strategies, study appraisal tools, and certainty assessment methods was extracted to contextualise the results. The included SRs implemented a median average of 6 out of 11 recommended practices. Use of a framework for assessing certainty in the evidence of a SR, reference to a pre-published protocol, and characterisation of research objectives as a complete Population-Exposure-Comparator-Outcome statement were the least common recommended practices. Reviews that referenced a pre-published protocol scored a mean average of 7.77 out of 10 against 5.39 for those that did not. Neither use of a reporting checklist nor journal impact factor was significantly associated with increased methodological rigour of a SR. Our study shows that environmental health SRs omit a range of methodological components that are important for rigour. Improving this situation will require more complex, comprehensive interventions than simple use of reporting standards.

KW - Systematic review

KW - environmental health

KW - research quality

KW - toxicology

KW - research standards

KW - evidence synthesis

KW - critical appraisal

U2 - 10.1080/10408444.2022.2082917

DO - 10.1080/10408444.2022.2082917

M3 - Review article

VL - 52

SP - 167

EP - 187

JO - Critical Reviews in Toxicology

JF - Critical Reviews in Toxicology

SN - 1547-6898

IS - 3

ER -