3-4 – How certain is the evidence?

The certainty of the evidence (the extent to which the research provides a good indication of the likely effects of treatments) can affect the treatment decisions people make. For example, someone might decide not to use or to pay for a treatment if the certainty of the evidence is low or very low. How certain the evidence is depends on the fairness of the comparisons, the risk of being misled by the play of chance, and how directly relevant the evidence is. Systematic reviews provide the best basis for these judgements and should report an assessment of the certainty of the evidence based on these judgements.

When using the findings of systematic reviews to inform your decisions, always consider the degree of certainty of the evidence.

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