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Systematic Reviews: Synthesis

Overview of systematic review methodology and key strategies for searching and reporting to the Cochrane Collaboration's Gold Standard

Heading: Data synthesis

Data synthesis overview

Now that you have extracted your data, the next step is to synthesise the data.

Move through the slide deck below to learn about data synthesis. Alternatively, download the PDF document at the bottom of this box.

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Forest plot example

If you have conducted a meta-analysis, you can present a summary of each study and your overall findings in a forest plot.

Select the i icons in the image below to learn about each component of a forest plot.

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Test your knowledge

Test your knowledge about meta-analysis and forest plots in the activity below.

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Guidelines and standards

Items 13a - 13f of the PRISMA 2020 Checklist address synthesis methods and are described further in the Explanation and Elaboration document.


Other standards

Learn more


Additional readings: