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What is Synthesis?

Synthesis Introduction:

People use the term synthesis in evidence-based practice, policy, research and writing environments. 

It is a concept and method of combining information together to create something new. That new product could be a personal opinion; an argument for or against implementing a law, policy or clinical practice; or could be a step taken when critically appraising or analyzing data from multiple studies as part of the conduct of a systematic review study. 

Therefore, context when talking about synthesis is very important. Let's review some examples of different definitions of synthesis:


General Definition of Synthesis

Generally speaking, the idea of synthesis is to take multiple different pieces and combine them together into one piece.


Synthesis as defined in its application in writing assignments, research papers, publications:

When talking about synthesis in your writing assignments and research papers, the individual pieces might be considered the different articles and resources you have read.


Evidence Synthesis as defined as a step and method used appraising and analyzing data in systematic reviews:

Some researchers define evidence synthesis synonymously with systematic review.  However, it is also the specific step in systematic reviews where you take appraised data or studies and combine them and their findings to analyze data to determine if there is enough evidence in the selected studies to develop a conclusive statement about the combined studies in answering a clinical or policy question. 

Learn More About Synthesis

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Video created by Nathalie Sheridan

Video created by Evidence Synthesis Ireland.