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Evidence Tables

If G-I-N is to achieve the aim of reduced duplication of effort then sharing of evidence tables is one of the simplest ways to achieve this. Templates have been developed by the Evidence Tables Working Group (ETWG) to summarise papers in a consistent way and facilitate their use for various purposes and by different organisations.

Background

G-I-N aims to ‘facilitate information sharing, education and knowledge transfer, and collaborative working between guideline programmes to promote best practice and avoid duplication of effort’. If G-I-N is to achieve the aim of reduced duplication of effort then sharing of evidence tables is one of the simplest ways to achieve this.

As there is confusion about the definition of evidence tables, the following is used as a starting point for the work of the ETWG:

"Evidence tables are methodological and outcome summaries that present data from a number of related studies. They answer a well-defined question in a consistent format, aim to demonstrate overall trends in the evidence and enable the process of making recommendations."

In 2011, the ETWG launched a beta version of the G-I-N Data Extraction Resource (GINDER), an online repository for evidence tables based on the intervention and diagnostic templates. However, in 2013 it was decided that development should be stopped given the cost and resources needed to complete, maintain and promote the use of GINDER. In addition, there are other initiatives making good progress in developing systematic review data repositories (e.g., SRDR) and guideline development tools (e.g., GDT, Dr Evidence).

Aims and Objectives

The aim of the ETWG is to define a minimum data set that should be included in all evidence tables. This would facilitate the use of databases of evaluated studies with data presented in a consistent format that G-I-N members could use in their guideline development process to populate their evidence tables using the data directly as presented or slightly modified according to their specific needs.

To reach these objectives the ETGW agreed that a single format to address different types of questions (e.g. intervention, diagnosis accuracy) is difficult to achieve. Hence, the ETWG group focused its work on identifying the data to be extracted from the considered studies for the addressed question and producing relevant templates [1].

The templates have been built based on feedback from G-I-N members and taking into account the following elements:

  • Inclusion of most objectives and factual data that summarise the study, incorporating key data that allow quality/validity assessment and avoid second time review
  • Provision of a set of explanatory notes about what should be considered for inclusion under each heading

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[1] Minimum data abstracted from a single study to allow consistent comparison across studies and to inform a group process in evidence synthesis.

Paper on summarising interventions studiesPaper on summarising interventions studies

Mlika-Cabanne N, Harbour R, de Beer H, Laurence M, Cook R, Twaddle S; on behalf of the Guidelines International Network (G-I-N) Working Group on Evidence Tables. Sharing hard labour: developing a standard template for data summaries in guideline development.
Qual Saf Health Care. 2011 Feb;20(2):141-145. doi:10.1136/bmjqs.2010.040923

How to get involved?

For more information about the ETWG and to join the working group, please contact:
Craig Whittington: c.whittington@ucl.ac.uk

 
Page last updated: Dec 05, 2013
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