National Center for the
Dissemination of Disability Research

Webcast 11
The value of "traditional" reviews in the era of systematic reviewing

September 3, 2008, 2:00 PM (CDT)

The Task Force on Systematic Review and Guidelines develops and presents consensus/position statements and recommends strategies associated with systematic reviews/clinical practice guidelines in disability and rehabilitation research. The Task Force is made up of experienced NIDRR-funded researchers who volunteered to work in this capacity.

Beginning its work in 2006, the Task Force has developed two papers that are now ready for public review and comment. The first paper focuses on Systematic vs. Traditional Reviews (Sept. 3, 2008) while the second looks at Evidence in Systematic Reviews (Sept. 17, 2008).

Copies of the papers were disseminated following the introductory webcasts.

About the Webcast

Reviews offer examinations of published material on a topic, and are becoming indispensable in keeping up with an exponentially growing rehabilitation literature. Adherents of the systematic reviews that support evidence-based practice have been quite dismissive of narrative (traditional, qualitative, non-systematic) reviews. However, the types of problems that plague the latter also may be found in systematic reviews, which in addition have problems of their own. It is argued here that reviews play a number of roles in scientific research and professional practice: pooling data, comparing research, synthesizing complementary studies, offering guidance in uncharted fields, and “translating” research between disciplinary traditions. For some of these purposes, systematic reviews are better; for others, only a narrative review is suitable. Both types can be improved to serve the reader better in keeping up with the literature.

About the Presenters

Marcel P.J.M. Dijkers, PhD, FACRM, is the Facilitator for the Task Force on Systematic Review and Guidelines. He is senior investigator in the NIDRR-funded Rehabilitation Research and Training Center on TBI Interventions, as well as for the New York TBI and SCI Model Systems at Mount Sinai School of Medicine. Dr. Dijkers is Research Professor in the Department of Rehabilitation Medicine. He has published more than 80 articles and chapters on the social and functional consequences of SCI/TBI, the delivery of health services for these conditions, outcome measurement, and methodological and statistical issues in rehabilitation research. Evidence-based practice has been an area of interest for the last decade, and he has published a number of quantitative reviews and meta-analyses. Dr. Dijkers served as methodological consultant on a project by the Consortium for Spinal Cord Medicine to develop a clinical practice guideline in the area of upper extremity injuries of individuals with spinal cord injury.

Michael L. Boninger, MD, is director of the University of Pittsburgh Model Center on Spinal Cord Injury (UPMC-SCI), funded by NIDRR, and is Executive Director of the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center’s Center for Assistive Technology. He is Professor and Interim Chair of the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at the University of Pittsburgh, as well as the Associate Dean for Medical Student Research in the School of Medicine. Dr. Boninger works as a physician researcher for the Department of Veterans Affairs and serves as Medical Director of the Human Engineering Research Laboratories (HERL), a Department of Veterans Affairs Center of Excellence. Dr. Boninger has over 120 peer-reviewed journal publications and numerous book chapters and extended abstract. In 2003 he was elected to the College of Fellows in the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering (AIMBE). He has lectured internationally on biomechanics of repetitive strain injury, assistive technology, and wheelchair propulsion. Dr. Boninger also holds three U.S. patents.

David Vandergoot, PhD, is Project Co-Director for the Employment Service Systems Research and Training Center (ESSRTC), a NIDRR-funded RRTC. He is primarily responsible for overseeing instrument development, database programming, data collection and statistical analysis for ESSRTC's research projects. Dr. Vandergoot has been providing clinical, educational and research contributions to the fields of rehabilitation education and counseling for over 25 years. He is President of the Center for Essential Management Services (CEMS) where he manages all aspects of research, training and demonstration projects. Dr. Vandergoot has conducted numerous evaluation and research projects concerned with the employment of people with disabilities. His first study, published in 1977, explored the effectiveness of outreach strategies to employers. He has written a text on placement strategies in vocational rehabilitation and has directed or co-directed 17 research projects studying the employment of people with disabilities.

Download Materials from Webcast

Presentation Materials

Paper discussed in the webcast: Systematic vs. Traditional Review (PDF 244kb)     

Webcast References and Checklists for Assessing Systematic Reviews (DOC 40kb)     

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Go to ILRU webcast archive page

This webcast is supported through the National Center for the Dissemination of Disability Research (NCDDR), which is funded by the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research (NIDRR) in the U.S. Department of Education, and is supported in part by ILRU. The opinions and views expressed are those of the presenters and no endorsement by the funding agency should be inferred.

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