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Table 5 Content features of systematic review that may increase their use

From: Barriers and facilitators to uptake of systematic reviews by policy makers and health care managers: a scoping review

Decision-making focus Easy to understand Details on included studies
Address relevant policy questions not academic or business focused questions [44] Information about the information or meta-information that tells you what to expect [47] Provide rating scale for quality of study design [44]
Clearly articulate the implications of the findings to public health practice and policy [43] Include content that was focused on key findings or the “bottom line” from the study [43] Include section on the relevance of the evidence and the intervention for low and middle income countries (LMICs) [47]
Provide potential short- and long-term outcomes expected as a result of implementing the research findings into practice [43] Provide references to more detailed findings so the reader is able to investigate further if needed [49] Include table describing the characteristics of the reviews [47]
Policy makers expect content lying outside the scope of a review: recommendations, outcome measurements not usually included in a review, detailed information about local applicability or costs, and a broader framing of the research enquiry [47] Lack features that would make them easier for government officials to evaluate. For example, the quality of studies is often difficult for non-experts to interpret because the explanation of research methods is long and complicated [44] Include critical appraisal of included studies [52]
Frame the evidence in terms of how they can implement it (specifically as a list of questions to be considered when developing and implementing an integrated health system (which was topic of the review in this study), information about how to engage stakeholders, build relationships, and communicate appropriately across target audiences) [49] Replace the section for references with a section for “additional information”: information that was helpful for understanding the problem, that provided details about the interventions, or that put the results of the review in a broader context [47] Include bullet point evaluation or rating system of study design quality so that “for those of us who don’t make our living doing that, we do not have to read a half dozen pages to ferret it out” [44]
  It must be packaged to incite and persuade, “to translate the evidence into something that is understandable by the average legislator, average citizen” [44] Provide table describing the characteristics of the reviews: makes clear what the review was looking for [47]
  References are clear [47]  
  Use familiar, non-jargon language [47]  
  Use consistent language and standard phrases to describe effect sizes and the quality of the evidence [47]  
  Limit the discussion of methods [43]