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What is AMSTAR

AMSTAR stands for A Measurement Tool to Assess Systematic Reviews. There has been a proliferation of systematic reviews as one of the key tools for evidence-based health care. This has presented both opportunities and risks. The opportunities being that it creates an environment where researchers can base decisions on accurate, succinct, credible, comprehensive and comprehensible summaries of the best available evidence on a topic thereby minimising error and bias.  The risks include variation in quality and empirical validation.

During the last decade, decision-makers have attempted to find ways of best utilizing the vast amounts of systematic reviews available to them that offer pertinent and well-founded literature that is of the highest quality.

A new and improved AMSTAR is being developed. read more
Goal of AMSTAR Uses of AMSTAR

A research leading to AMSTAR was therefore carried out pragmatically using previously published tools and expert consensus.  Its goal was to:

  1. Create a valid, reliable and useable instrument that would help users differentiate between systematic reviews, focusing on their methodological quality and expert consensus.
  2. Facilitate the development of high-quality reviews.

1.    To develop and evaluate reviews

2.    As a guide to conduct of reviews

3.    As an aid to teaching about systematic reviews.

Validity of AMSTAR AMSTAR Citations
  1. It showed satisfactory inter-observer agreement, reliability and construct validity.
  2. Items in AMSTAR displayed levels of agreement that ranged from moderate to almost perfect.
  3. The reliability of the total AMSTAR score was excellent.

 AMSTAR has been translated into Japanese, French and Spanish.


AMSTAR’s advantages

1.    It is an instrument that has good inter-rater agreement, test-retest reliability, face and construct validity. It is also easy to use as has been reported in a number of papers. 2-4

2.    We believe that AMSTAR has significantly advanced the practice of assessing the methodological quality of systematic reviews.

3.    It has received endorsements from the Canadian Agency for Drugs and Technologies in Health CADTH and several authors and has been cited approximately 200 times over the past three years.

4.    The reliability of the total AMSTAR score is excellent

5.    It is practical as completion time is not long and one can arrive at a final decision with ease due to comprehensible guidelines

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