About the Registry

What is the Registry of Systematic Reviews of Disability and Rehabilitation Research?

This Registry has been developed by the NCDDR/KTDRR to gather in one place systematic reviews of research studies on disability and rehabilitation topics salient to researchers, persons with disabilities, their families, and service providers. The KTDRR collects systematic reviews for this Registry by searching online databases–such as The Cochrane Library–and grey literature. Systematic reviews published by the Cochrane Collaboration, the Campbell Collaboration, and the What Works Clearinghouse, as well as other published and unpublished reviews, are found in the Registry.

What is a Registry?

A research registry is a system for collecting information on specific research studies and maintaining it in a structured record. For more information about registries see the KTDRR's Library of Knowledge Translation Resources.

How can I locate other research registries?

See the KTDRR's Library of Knowledge Translation Resources for assistance locating registries that focus on disability and rehabilitation research; health and function research; and systematic reviews of research.

Registry inclusion criteria

What are the inclusion rules for the registry?

The registry includes systematic reviews that are relevant to disability and rehabilitation research and that have been published since January 2003. It excludes items that are not relevant to disability and rehabilitation research.

How are records obtained?

The KTDRR collects systematic reviews for this registry by searching online databases and grey literature. The KTDRR also accepts contributions from researchers.

What is grey literature?

Grey literature refers to papers, reports, technical notes or other documents produced and published by governmental agencies, academic institutions and other groups that are not distributed or indexed by commercial publishers. Many of these documents are difficult to locate and obtain. Grey literature is usually not subject to peer review, and must be scrutinized accordingly.

How do I contribute a systematic review to this registry?

The KTDRR is collecting information on recently completed systematic reviews of disability or rehabilitation research for inclusion in this registry. To submit a systematic review for consideration, complete the online systematic review submission form or contact KTDRR@air.org. Reviews that have been published since January 2003 are eligible for inclusion. Each systematic review should include a structured abstract. Please indicate the NIDILRR grantee affiliation, if applicable.

Information about systematic reviews

What is a systematic review?

A systematic review can be defined as a review of primary research publications, that is produced using "the application of procedures that limit bias in the assembly, critical appraisal, and synthesis of all relevant studies on a particular topic. Systematic review procedures were developed in response to the need to avoid bias in the critical evaluation of research" (Stevens, 2001). Systematic reviews of treatments "objectively summarize large amounts of information, identify gaps in…research, and identify beneficial or harmful interventions" (Bero & Jadad, 1997, p. 37). Other systematic reviews may focus on primary research of diagnosis and assessment, or prognosis, or economic costs, systematically and objectively summarizing what is known (and what is unknown) in a particular area, and making recommendations for practice as indicated. Specific procedures and protocols distinguish systematic reviews from literature reviews and syntheses, which also summarize findings from multiple studies.

Bero, L. A., & Jadad, A., R. (1997). How consumers and policymakers can use systematic reviews for decision-making. Annals of Internal Medicine, 127(1), 37-42.

Stevens, K. R. (2001). Systematic reviews: The heart of evidence-based practice. AACN Clinical Issues: Advanced Practice in Acute & Critical Care, 12(4), 529-538.

What are the benefits of systematic reviews?

Systematic reviews can be useful because their resulting evidence base can provide valid, reliable information regarding "what works" in a particular context. Registries can provide researchers, consumers, and practitioners with powerful search engines for finding answers to questions in a format customized to the users' needs.

Systematic reviews provide practitioners a vehicle to gain access to such pre-filtered evidence. Essentially, systematic reviews aim to synthesize the results of multiple original studies by using strategies that delimit bias (Cook, Mulrow, & Haynes, 1997). According to Petticrew and Roberts (2006), systematic reviews "adhere closely to a set of scientific methods that explicitly aim to limit systematic error (bias), mainly attempting to identify, appraise and synthesize all relevant studies (of whatever design) in order to answer a particular question (or set of questions)" (p. 9). Systematic reviews substantially reduce the time and expertise it would take to locate and subsequently appraise and synthesize individual studies.

Cook, D. J., Greengold, N. L., Ellrodt, A. G., & Weingarten, S. R. (1997). The relation between systematic reviews and practice guidelines. Annals of Internal Medicine, 127(3), 210-216.

Petticrew, M., & Roberts, H. (2006). Systematic reviews in the social sciences: A practical guide. Malden, MA : Blackwell Publishing Co.

To learn more about the role of systematic reviews in evidence-based practice, see FOCUS issues #15 and #16.

Schlosser, R. W. (2006). The role of systematic reviews in evidence-based practice, research, and development. FOCUS Technical Brief (15). Retrieved February 12, 2007, from http://www.ktdrr.org/ktlibrary/articles_pubs/ncddrwork/focus/focus15

Turner, H. M., & Nye, C. (2007). The Campbell Collaboration: Systematic reviews and implications for evidence-based practice. FOCUS Technical Brief (16). Retrieved February 12, 2007, from http://ktdrr.org/ktlibrary/articles_pubs/ncddrwork/focus/focus16