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Criticism for Following Recommended Practice

      The author David C. Hoaglin criticises the methods used in our review. Specifically, he questions using a random effects model, halving of sample sizes to avoid double counting of participants, and assessing heterogeneity using the I2 statistic. However, we were in line with the recommendations of the Cochrane Back Review Group
      • Furlan A.D.
      • Malmivaara A.
      • Chou R.
      • Maher C.G.
      • Deyo R.A.
      • Schoene M.
      • Bronfort G.
      • van Tulder M.W.
      2015 Updated method guideline for systematic reviews in the Cochrane back and neck group.
      in using these approaches—of which the author is either unaware, or does not acknowledge. This is compounded by the fact that the author provides no evidence-based, rigorously tested alternative for these choices (eg, using the I2 statistic). As such these are not unique critiques of our methodology, but rather relate to the way systematic reviews such as ours, and the Cochrane collaboration, are done. Perspectives on what constitutes optimal methods for conducting and analyzing research evolve of course, and the methods currently advocated may not necessarily be considered ideal in years to come. For example, the value of a “P < .05” cutoff for statistical significance is increasingly challenged. Nevertheless, the central point remains—the methods used were aligned with the reference standard, and criticisms that do not offer better alternatives are of little value.
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        • van Tulder M.W.
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