GRADE guidelines 26: informative statements to communicate the findings of systematic reviews of interventions

J Clin Epidemiol. 2020 Mar:119:126-135. doi: 10.1016/j.jclinepi.2019.10.014. Epub 2019 Nov 9.


Objectives: Clear communication of systematic review findings will help readers and decision makers. We built on previous work to develop an approach that improves the clarity of statements to convey findings and that draws on Grading of Recommendations Assessment, Development and Evaluation (GRADE).

Study design and setting: We conducted workshops including 80 attendants and a survey of 110 producers and users of systematic reviews. We calculated acceptability of statements and revised the wording of those that were unacceptable to ≥40% of participants.

Results: Most participants agreed statements should be based on size of effect and certainty of evidence. Statements for low, moderate and high certainty evidence were acceptable to >60%. Key guidance, for example, includes statements for high, moderate and low certainty for a large effect on intervention x as: x results in a large reduction…; x likely results in a large reduction…; x may result in a large reduction…, respectively.

Conclusions: Producers and users of systematic reviews found statements to communicate findings combining size and certainty of an effect acceptable. This article provides GRADE guidance and a wording template to formulate statements in systematic reviews and other decision tools.

Keywords: Evidence-based Medicine; Health communication; Language; Persuasive communication; Review literature as topic; Surveys and Questionnaires.

MeSH terms

  • Guidelines as Topic*
  • Health Communication*
  • Humans
  • Systematic Reviews as Topic*