Table 1

Examples of review types
Predominant review type Review questions
Aggregative
‘What works?’ reviews What is the effect of a health or social intervention?
Diagnostic test What is the accuracy of this diagnostic tool?
Cost benefit How effective is the benefit of an intervention relative to its cost?
Prevalence How extensive is this condition?
Configurative
Meta-ethnography [4] What theories can be generated from the conceptual literature?
Critical interpretative synthesis [8] What theories can be generated from the conceptual literature?
Meta narrative review [11] How to understand the development of research on an issue within and across different research traditions?
Configuring and aggregative
Realist synthesis [9] What is the effect of a social policy in different policy areas?
Framework synthesis [25] What are the attributes of an intervention or activity?

Gough et al.

Gough et al. Systematic Reviews 2012 1:28   doi:10.1186/2046-4053-1-28

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