Identifying Strong Studies

evidence based meta analysis randomized controlled trial research research pyramid Feb 11, 2020

No research soapbox today⁣

My literal life goal is to bring research to the real world (always has been).⁣

And I do realize that most people have zero formal training on how to sift through the available research.⁣

Today I want to share a little about how to do so.⁣

This pyramid 🔺 presents the various levels of evidence you can find in published research studies.⁣

As you move from top to bottom, the AMOUNT of evidence increases, but the QUALITY decreases.⁣

SO, STARTING FROM THA TOP...⁣

▪️Systematic review: ⁣
a formal, systematic and structured approach to review all the relevant literature (aka remove poorly done studies) on a topic (e.g. how many studies have used certain methods, where they were carried out, etc.)⁣

▫️Meta-analysis:⁣
combines the numerical results from all relevant literature studies in a new statistical framework to test hypotheses.⁣

^^ these are often put together.⁣

◾️Randomized Controlled Trials (RCTs):⁣
randomly assign participants into an experimental group (receive what is being tested) or a control group(s) (receive no treatment or perhaps a placebo) that the experimental group is compared to.⁣

▫️Cohort:⁣
One or more groups of people with a similar characteristic (e.g. birth year) are followed over time to determine what risk factors are associated with a certain outcome (e.g. obesity).⁣

▪️Case control:⁣
Compares one group of people with a certain outcome (e.g. with obesity) to a group without it and looks back in time to compare risk factors (e.g. exercise frequency).⁣

▫️Case report:⁣
Describes an individual case (often used with unique/rare conditions or difficult to study)⁣

▪️Background info/Expert opinion:⁣
Anecdotal evidence, your fave #fitspo advice (if you can confidently call them experts).⁣

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