Guidelines for Evidence Tables
Provide a table title that describes the content (e.g., “Summary of the Evidence for the Effects of Occupational Therapy Interventions on ADL Performance in Older Adults”).
List the last names of the authors followed by the year of publication (e.g., Gish, Staplin, & Perel, 1999).
Briefly state the objective(s) of the study, using the focused question as a way to frame the study objectives. The objectives are usually stated briefly in the abstract of the article and again in more detail in the introduction. They may be phrased as a statement “To evaluate or test the effectiveness of . . .”
List the Level of Evidence (see below) and type of study design.
Briefly describe the number and type of study participants. Include any available descriptive information (e.g., ages, mean age, age range). If the study has more than one group, list the size of each group.
Levels of Evidence*
Systematic reviews, meta-analyses, randomized controlled trials
Two groups, nonrandomized studies (e.g., cohort, case-control)
One group, nonrandomized (e.g., before and after, pretest and posttest)
Descriptive studies that include analysis of outcomes (single-subject design, case series)
Case reports and expert opinion that include narrative literature reviews and consensus statements
If qualitative studies are included in the review, a separate Evidence Table should be completed. Qualitative studies do not include a Level of Evidence.
*Adapted from “Evidence-Based Medicine: What It Is and What It Isn’t,” by D. L. Sackett, W. M. Rosenberg, J. A. Muir Gray, R. B. Haynes, & W. S. Richardson, 1996, British Medical Journal, 312, pp. 71–72. Copyright © 1996 by the British Medical Association. Adapted with permission.
Intervention and Outcome Measures
Brief Description: Briefly describe only those interventions relevant to answering the evidence-based question. Please include the following, only as appropriate and if included in study:
Outcomes and Outcome Measures
- Setting: Was the intervention received at home or in an institution? Was it the same for different groups of participants, if there was more than one intervention group?
- Who delivered? Who provided the intervention? Was it different for intervention and control groups?
- Frequency/Duration: How often did the intervention take place, and what was the duration of each session (e.g., twice weekly for 30 min per session)? How long did the intervention last (e.g., 3 months)?
Outcomes are the variables or issues of interest to the researcher. They represent the product or results of the intervention or exposure. Many studies include numerous outcome measures. For the purpose of the Evidence Table, only include measures relevant to answering the evidence-based question. List the name of the measure, and if needed, describe the outcome in a few words (e.g., if the description of the outcome is not embedded in the name of the measure).
Briefly describe only those results of the study that are appropriate to answering the focused question. Although p values do not need to be included, make sure that significance has been achieved if reporting that one group is more likely to have a given outcome.
List the limitations of the study. Limitations may include design and sample selection issues (e.g., small sample size, lack of randomization, lack of control group), intervention biases (e.g., contamination, co-interventions), measurement biases (e.g., recall bias) or statistical issues (e.g., use of inappropriate statistical measures).
View a sample table and formatting guidelines here. Authors should refer to it and the accompanying editorial style notes as they compile evidence tables. A template for evidence tables is available here.
These guidelines are a product of AOTA’s Evidence-Based Practice Project and the American Journal of Occupational Therapy. Copyright© 2009 by the American Occupational Therapy Association. May be freely reproduced for personal use in clinical or educational settings as long as the source is cited. All other uses require written permission from the American Occupational Therapy Association. To apply, visit http://www.copyright.com/.