What is a Systematic Review?
A is a thorough compilation and analysis of all known evidence on a given subject. In order to be formally recognized by publishers and repositories, a systematic review must include the following elements:
Inclusion and exclusion criteria.
For additional information, see:
Littell, J.H., Corcoran, J., & Pillai, V. (2008). Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analysis. Oxford University Press.
A team A systematic review can't be done alone! A typical team includes a project leader, a subject expert, reviewers, a methodologist and/or a librarian, and a statistician.
A research question Consider whether a systematic review is needed before starting your project. Has someone already written one on your topic? Librarians can help you find out.
A research protocol A research protocol is a detailed plan for how you will conduct your review. It is a good idea to register your protocol.
A literature search Your goal is to find ALL relevant studies on your topic, so your literature search should be thorough.
A tracking plan You’ll need to maintain detailed records of each step in the process.
Study selection and appraisal The screening of studies should be performed by at least 2 reviewers.
Data extraction The next step, also with a least 2 reviewers, is to extract data from the included studies.
Analysis and interpretation of results There are a number of tools that can help you to plot and analyze the results. The Cochrane Handbook provides detailed guidance on interpreting results and drawing conclusions.
Adapted from University of Minnesota's Resources for Conducting a Systematic Review Libguide.
The article "How to conduct a systematic review from beginning to end" from Covidence Academy is a good resource for understanding the steps of a systematic review.
offer advice on your research question, search strategy, or protocol development.
From Covidence Academy, "The Librarian's Role in a Systematic Review".