A systematic review is a comprehensive search of all of the studies, papers, research, and literature revolving around a specific question. It attempts to eliminate any bias, and includes unpublished studies ("grey literature"). The reviewers filter out poorly done studies and make recommendations based on a synthesis of the high quality studies. The ultimate goal of a systematic review is to change and improve clinical practice.
There are several different types of reviews researchers can conduct (Grant & Booth, 2009). For information on the other types of evidence syntheses, check out our guides on Integrative and Scoping Reviews.
To successfully conduct a systematic review, researchers need the following:
To ensure that your review will be unbiased, performed properly, and ultimately have an impact, be sure to follow the published standards for reviews.
Some of the best known standards and guidlines include:
This toolbox provides an easy-to-use and searchable format for locating resources available online to help in the systematic review process. Tools offered include software, checklists, and guidelines for help in every step of the systematic review process. Filter by type of tool, cost, discipline, and approach using the advanced search (right-hand side). See the toolbox website below for more information.
See below for some titles in our collection related to writing and conducting a systematic review. If you learn about other titles we don't have access to, feel free to suggest a purchase.