Traditional literature review / narrative review:
Source: Cochrane. Background to Systematic Reviews
A systematic review is defined as “a review of the evidence on a clearly formulated question that uses systematic and explicit methods to identify, select and critically appraise relevant primary research, and to extract and analyze data from the studies that are included in the review.” The methods used must be reproducible and transparent.
Source: Undertaking Systematic Reviews of Research on Effectiveness. CRD’s Guidance for those Carrying Out or Commissioning Reviews. CRD Report Number 4 (2nd Edition). NHS Centre for Reviews and Dissemination, University of York. March 2001.
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When answering questions of effectiveness comparing two different treatments or interventions.
Is your review question a complex intervention? Learn more here.
Choosing a Review Type: This guide explains other comprehensive literature reviews of similar methodology to the systematic review.
Here is a helpful article about review types. (Meeting the Review Family: Exploring review types and associated information retrieval requirements, 2019,Sutton et al.)
You may also find the Review Ready Reckoner helpful!
1. Gathering your team (Minimum of two reviewers with a third to serve as a tiebreaker)
2. Questioning (Define a narrow question, may use PICO) Is your review question a complex intervention? Learn more about Reviews of Complex Interventions.
3. Planning (Create a priori protocol (See the Prisma-P extension this link will open a PDF document), plan and test the search strategy, register the protocol (PROSPERO-for medical/health sciences, OSF for other disciplines)
4. Searching/Screening (Exhaustive, transparent & repeatable searching for evidence/selecting studies) Includes database, grey literature/clinical trial registry and handsearching of the literature. Screening is done in two phases. The first phase is screening titles/abstracts, the second phase is screening full texts. Screening is done independently by two reviewers, with a third as a tiebreaker.
See our Systematic Review Search Service for help conducting the search!
5. Managing & reporting (all methods are transparent and reproducible)
Moller AM, Myles PS. What makes a good systematic review and meta-analysis? BJA. 2016. 117(4):428-430.
Systematic Review Service:
The health sciences library Chat with a Librarian service is available at https://www.library.temple.edu/hsl. Many of our librarians are available to provide systematic review education. Or you may reach the Team Lead, Stephanie Roth: Email email@example.com Phone (215) 707-9469