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AHRQ--Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality: Advancing Excellence in Health Care

What Is the Research Process?

Comparative effectiveness research can be systematic reviews of existing evidence or original research where evidence is generated. In both cases, researchers are determining the effectiveness or comparative effectiveness of any test, procedure, or treatment.

Comparative effectiveness reviews are conducted by an Evidence-based Practice Center (EPC) using rigorous methods and guidelines. Researchers review clinical research and clinical trials, along with other research studies, to answer the key questions.

Sometimes, there are not enough studies available to conduct a systematic review. In these cases, two other Effective Health Care Program research networks conduct original research to provide new evidence of outcomes and potential adverse effects or events that might be associated with a test, procedure, or treatment. These networks are: the DEcIDE (Developing Evidence to Inform Decisions about Effectiveness) Network or the Centers for Education & Research on Therapeutics (CERTS).

The graphic below describes the steps used by the Program to generate, synthesize, and translate evidence. Persons using assistive technology may open the content included in the graphic below in a new page.



 Description of the steps taken by the Program to generate, synthesize, and translate evidence.