Synthesis involves pooling the extracted data from the included studies and summarizing the findings based on the overall strength of the evidence and consistency of observed effects. All reviews should include a qualitative synthesis and may also include a quantitative synthesis (i.e. meta-analysis). Data from sufficiently comparable and reliable studies are weighted and evaluated to determine the cumulative outcome in a meta-analysis. Tabulation and graphical display of the results (e.g. forest plot showing the mean, range and variance from each study visually aligned) are typically included for most forms of synthesis. Generally, conclusions are drawn about the usefulness of an intervention or the relevant body of literature with suggestions for future research directions.
Consult Cochrane Interactive Learning Module 6: Analyzing the Data and Module 7. Interpreting the Findings for further information. *Please note you will need to register for a Cochrane account while initially on the Mayo network. You'll receive an email message containing a link to create a password and activate your account.*