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Tips On Writing Evidence Summaries

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Purpose of this document

This document presents what an Evidence Summary is and provides basic guidelines regarding the structure and content of an evidence summary. The suggested format below may be adjusted to address the needs of the targeted potential readers.

Evidence Summaries -definition

Evidence summaries are short one or two page documents that describe in a lay and friendly language the findings from the best available research on a particular topic with implications for further research.

Each summary includes the key findings from research and key messages that can be acted upon[1].

There are several ways for structuring evidence summaries and these may vary depending on the nature of the subject area presented (clinical/health services/systems).

Structure and Content of an Evidence Summary

  1. A title

The title usually presents the topic reviewed and presented in the summary. It usually states the primary research question or issue of interest addressed in the summary.

  1. Key messages

This section summarizes the research findings and outlines the key messages that one is trying to communicate.

  1. Background to the review question

Under this section, one provides brief background information on the topic being addressed by the evidence summary

  1. Methods (a summary of reviewed studies and sources of information)

This section presents a summary of reviewed studies and the respective sources of evidence such were used to draw the key messages and conclusions. It is important to highlight how the reviewed studies were searched and selected as a reliable source of evidence.

  1. Evidence

This section provides answers to the review question. It provides the level and quantity of evidence found regarding the review question.  For clarity and impact, the evidence should be summarized in bullet points.

Case studies

It is usually helpful for practitioners and policy makers to also present studies that provide additional evidence relating to the review question if there are some. Case studies make a Evidence summary lively.

References to resources containing information about these case studies should be given.

  1. References

All references cited in the text should be included under this section. The use of a standard referencing style is highly recommended.

  1. Acknowledgements

It is important to acknowledge all those that contribute to process of putting together the evidence summary.

  1. Conflicts of interests must also be declared[SG1] .
  2. Additional Information

Provide contact details including e-mail and phone number where readers can ascertain more information.

References for this guide:

Khangura, S., et al., Evidence summaries: the evolution of a rapid review approach. Systematic Reviews, 2012. 1(1): p. 10.$FILE/Guidelines%20for%20evidence%20summaries%20-%20with%20implications%20for%20policy%20&%20practice%20V3.pdf$File/Guideline%20Evidence%20Summary.PDF




 [SG1]This is what differentiates an Evidence Summary from a notice of information from a Lobbying organization.


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