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Learn more about systematic review or meta-analysis methodology and standards

Librarians can instruct you on the basic principles of search methodology for systematic reviews, scoping reviews, and other literature review types. This includes tips on selecting databases to search, choosing keywords, building search strategies, and organizing citations. Make an appointment with a librarian to get started on your search.

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.

See also Grant MJ, Booth A. A typology of reviews: an analysis of 14 review types and associated methodologies. Health Information & Libraries Journal. 2009 Jun 1;26(2):91-108.

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.

Online resources

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