Monday, December 03, 2012

Baron-Cohen calls this paper a "systematic review". Bulls***!

The "Reading the Mind in the Eyes" test: Systematic review of psychometric properties and a validation study in Italy.
Vellante M, Baron-Cohen S, Melis M, Marrone M, Petretto DR, Masala C, Preti A.
Cognitive Neuropsychiatry. 

Received: 23 Jan 2012
Accepted: 14 Aug 2012
Version of record first published: 30 Oct 2012
[Epub ahead of print]
PMID: 23106125

Take a look at the abstract (I'll have to go to a medical library to access the full text), and you will find that it's very clear that this paper is a single study, not a systematic review, as has been made famous by the Cochrane Collaboration and the evidence-based medicine movement. A systematic review, is a review (duh!) of the existing published and unpublished literature on a research question. A systematic review is a review of other research studies done in a systematic and very discerning manner, according to a set of internationally-recognized standards for judging good research. A systematic review also involves a very well-designed literature search requiring specialized knowledge of the journals, the relevant literature and librarianship. Don't believe me? Take a look at the definition of "systematic review" at the Wikipedia. The paper by Vellante, Baron-Cohen and others cited above appears to have none of the features of a systematic review. It looks like a paper outlining a single study involving 200 subjects, which may or may not be a study done in a scientific matter, but it wouldn't be a review. How dare Baron-Cohen and company appropriate the terminology of the internationally-respected evidence-based movement without the slightest care or regard!

Wikipedia contributors (accessed 2012) Systematic review. Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia.

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