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Systematic Reviews

A guide directing researchers on the systematic review process. Layout based on Doing a Systematic Review: A Student's Guide, 2nd Edition, by Angela Boland, M. Gemma Cherry, and Rumona Dickson.

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Reporting Results

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PRISMA Recommendations

The Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) guidelines provide a list of what to include when reporting results in a systematic review (Page et. al, 2021). See the PRISMA Checklist for more information.

  • Study selection
  • Study characteristics
  • Risk of bias in studies
  • Results of individual studies
  • Results of syntheses
  • Reporting biases
  • Certainty of evidence

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Flowcharts

When illustrating the systematic review process, it is helpful to provide visuals for reviewers to understand your methods. Luckily, PRISMA offers flowchart templates for researchers to use. See below for flowchart resources.

Note: another benefit to using Covidence is that during the literature screening process, Covidence automatically creates PRISMA flowcharts reflecting the screening process as researchers move through the literature.

Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) offers flowcharts to direct researchers on how to conduct systematic reviews in a step-by-step depending on the search strategies used. Resources are available for both new reviews and updates to old reviews.

This template allows researchers to automatically generate a PRISMA flowchart by inputting methodology (databases reviewed, number of articles, etc.).

The University of North Carolina provides an excellent guide on how to create a PRISMA flowchart. While information is from PRISMA 2009, there are pointers on updating to follow PRISMA's most recent guidelines (2020).