What is a systematic review?
A systematic review is a type of literature review which seeks to collect, critically appraise, and synthesize all of the evidence answering a given research question. Meta-analysis is the statistical analysis conducted within a systematic review, combining the results of multiple studies.
Other types of literature reviews include:
- Scoping reviews – similar to a systematic review in scale and rigor, but aim to map and categorize all of the literature on a broad topic rather than a narrow research question.
- Rapid reviews – completed within an accelerated timeframe, rapid reviews typically do not include searches of the grey literature. Additional steps of the traditional systematic review may be modified or omitted to enable this shortened timeframe.
Where can I find further information?
Doing a Systematic Review: A Student’s Guide by Boland, Cherry and Dickson (2014) will guide you through the steps of conducting a systematic review, from inclusion/exclusion criteria through data extraction.
- UIC Library Research Guide: Systematic Reviews for the Health Sciences
- Cochrane Handbook for Systematic Reviews of Interventions
- Finding What Works in Health Care: Standards for Systematic Reviews (IOM Report)
- Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA)
- Campbell Collaboration Resource Center
- PROSPERO – Protocol Registration