Making Sense of the Science
3.5 minutes: Systematic Reviews
Systematic reviews are when a panel of highly qualified scientists are convened to evaluate the most relevant published scientific research on a particular topic following specific guidelines set forth by the panel and the institution that commissions the review.
Such reviews can take considerable time to organize and even more time to conduct. For example, in 2006 the US National Academies of Sciences' National Research Council (NRC) published the results of their 3.5 year review of just about every published study that existed at the time on the effects of fluoride in drinking water.