Reading and interpreting reviews for health professionals: a practical review

Michele Antonelli, Fabio Firenzuoli, Carlo Salvarani, Gian Franco Gensini, Davide Donelli

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Literature reviews can be directly used by clinicians and other health professionals to support many decision-making processes. This review aims to offer health professionals an essential practical guide to critically evaluate and properly understand results of review articles published in the scientific literature. An evidence-based methodological review with step-by-step theoretical concepts and practical suggestions was developed. Key steps of this guide are: to consider the topic and the research question (a), to check the review type (b), to evaluate the methodology (with a keen focus on review guidelines, search strategy and study-selection process, evaluation of the quality and certainty of included evidence, and statistical analysis) (c), and to define the real impact of review results (d). This guide offers a description of essential and easy-to-apply key steps which can help health professionals to evaluate the reliability and implications of a literature review, and to select the latest high-quality scientific evidence to keep updated with.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)945-955
Number of pages11
JournalInternal and Emergency Medicine
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2020


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