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Systematic Reviews

A guide to understanding and creating systematic reviews.

Librarians can help

Liaison Librarians can partner with you and advise on how to start a systematic review. They will be part of the author team to design and manage complex, extensive literature searches in multiple databases. 

Learn more at the Library Services tab.

Systematic Review Overview

  1. Put together an investigative team.
    · Generally, a team needs to have at least three people to reduce bias.
  2. Develop a question – often clinical in nature.
  3. Establish criteria for including and excluding studies.
  4. Develop and register your protocol.
    · Check to see if there is not already a systematic review published or in progress on your topic.
    · Prospero and Cochrane are two sites that allow you to register your protocol.
  5. Conduct an exhaustive literature search – often done by a professional, or a librarian.
    · Librarians should be considered a member of the team and receive authorship for their contributions. Librarians will often write or contribute to the Methods section.
  6. Review results.
    · The review of articles should be a “blind” review, done by at least two individuals to reduce bias.
    · Journal Title and Author Name should be omitted from citations/articles for review.
  7. Select and evaluate the articles/studies that meet inclusion.
  8. Gather the evidence.
  9. Come to conclusions.
  10. Review work & run searches a last time to make sure you have recent publications.
  11. Make corrections or changes as needed.
  12. Submit work for publication.
    · The whole systematic review process on average takes at least 12 months.