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This Libguide provides resources for researchers interested in performing a systematic review. For information about finding existing systematic reviews, see the Libguide entitled Systematic Reviews: the Search.
Definitions of "Systematic Review"
- “A systematic review is a process of comprehensively locating and synthesizing the research on a particular question using organized, transparent, and replicable procedures.”
Hall, H. R., & Roussel, L. (2017). Evidence-based practice: An integrative approach to research, administration, and practice. Burlington, MA: Jones & Bartlett Learning.
- A systematic review is "a rigorous synthesis of research findings on a particular research question, using systematic sampling and data collection procedures and a formal protocol."
Polit, D. F., & Beck, C. T. (2014). Essentials of nursing research: Appraising evidence for nursing practice. Philadelphia: Wolters Kluwer Health /Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.
- "A systematic review attempts to collate all empirical evidence that fits pre-specified eligibility criteria in order to answer a specific research question. It uses explicit, systematic methods that are selected with a view to minimizing bias, thus providing more reliable findings from which conclusions can be drawn and decisions made (Antman 1992, Oxman 1993). The key characteristics of a systematic review are:
- a clearly stated set of objectives with pre-defined eligibility criteria for studies;
- an explicit, reproducible methodology;
- a systematic search that attempts to identify all studies that would meet the eligibility criteria;
- an assessment of the validity of the findings of the included studies, for example through the assessment of risk of bias;
- a systematic presentation, and synthesis, of the characteristics and findings of the included studies."
Higgins JPT, Green S (editors). Cochrane Handbook for Systematic Reviews of Interventions Version 5.1.0 [updated March 2011]. The Cochrane Collaboration, 2011. Available from www.handbook.cochrane.org.
The Role of the Institute of Medicine in Systematic Reviews
Finding What Works in Health Care
The Institute of Medicine (“IOM”) of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine has played a major role in the development of universally-accepted standards for producing and developing systematic reviews, in an effort to ensure systematic reviews of the highest possible quality and intellectual rigor. Finding What Works in Health Care, a book produced by the IOM, contains 21 such standards covering the entire process of systematic review development, from formulating a topic to producing the final report. These standards are a very helpful resource for research and practice in all aspects of systematic reviews.