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Research Guides@Tufts

Occupational Therapy

Clinical Reference

EBP Databases

What are . . .

Definitions of evidence-based literature

  • Systematic reviews use rigorous methods to locate, assess, and summarize the results of many individual studies using explicit methods that limit bias. Studies are appraised and recommendations for practice are often made. Reviews outline what is known or unknown about the effectiveness of a treatment. They may be qualitative or quantitative.
    • Qualitative systematic reviews (not to be confused with qualitative research) review summaries of primary studies, but do not statistically combine the results.
    • Quantitative reviews statistically combine results of a number of primary studies, and are sometimes referred to as meta-analyses.
  • Randomized controlled trials are studies in which a group of clients is randomly allocated into either an experimental group or a control group. Groups are followed up for the variables/outcomes of interest. RCTs potentially offer less bias and more certainty than other study designs because the outcomes being measured are actually due to the experimental treatment condition, rather than other factors.

---definitions from OT Seeker ( and Penn State (