Open Access Highly Accessed Research article

Development of AMSTAR: a measurement tool to assess the methodological quality of systematic reviews

Beverley J Shea*, Jeremy M Grimshaw, George A Wells, Maarten Boers, Neil Andersson, Candyce Hamel, Ashley C Porter, Peter Tugwell, David Moher and Lex M Bouter

  • * Corresponding author: Beverley J Shea

  • † Equal contributors

BMC Medical Research Methodology 2007, 7:10  doi:10.1186/1471-2288-7-10

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Easy access to critically appraised systematic reviews

Paul M Wilson   (2007-06-19 12:19)  Centre for Reviews and Dissemination, University of York email

Shea and colleagues (1) are right to highlight the need for users of systematic reviews to be critical and look carefully at methodological quality.

However, readers may be interested to learn that DARE (the Database of Abstracts of Reviews of Effects) uniquely provides easy access to over 4500 abstracts of quality assessed and critically appraised systematic reviews.

For each included review, an abstract is written by experienced researchers with expertise in evidence synthesis and systematic review. The abstract summarises the review methods, results and conclusions together with a critical assessment of the overall quality. To assist busy decision makers, each abstract now starts with a 60 word ‘bottom line’ explaining what the review was about, what it found and whether the review conclusions are reliable.

DARE has become a key resource for health professionals, policy makers and researchers around the world. It covers a broad range of health and social care topics and can be used for answering questions about the effects of interventions, as well as for developing guidelines and policy making.

The database is updated monthly, is free to access via the CRD website ( and is also available via the Cochrane Library.

1. Shea BJ, Grimshaw JM, Wells GA, Boers M, Andersson N, Hamel C, Porter AC, Tugwell P, Moher D, Bouter LM. Development of AMSTAR: a measurement tool to assess the methodological quality of systematic reviews. BMC Med Res Methodol. 2007 Feb 15;7:10.

Competing interests

None declared


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