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In this paper, the authors set out to estimate the prevalence of epilepsy in the prison population. The method that they chose was to synthesise data that have already been published on this topic. To identify all the previously published papers, they conducted a systematic review This methodology involves using prespecified, well defined search strategies, typically of more than one electronic database (in this case Medline, Embase, and PsychInfo), as well as other methods (here they used hand searching of relevant journals and searching of bibliographies).
Making a systematic review systematic
Why is it necessary to be so thorough when searching for papers, you may wonder? It is vital in a systematic review to identify all the previously published papers. Some studies also make an effort to identify unpublished data, or those published in reports or more obscure media, the so called grey literature. …