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Systematic Reviews

Prepare

Steps in the Process

Before you begin your review, think through and prepare for the project ahead. While some elements of a systematic review may occur concurrently, it is helpful to think through them as steps in the process of conducting a review. The following pages will provide further information on these steps.

  1. Formulate research question
  2. Define eligibility criteria
  3. Develop & implement search strategy
  4. Screen & analyze
  5. Critically appraise selected studies
  6. Synthesize results
  7. Report findings

How you complete and report each step will depend on the set of guidelines you choose to follow.

Guidelines

Guidelines Subject Areas

Cochrane

Medicine, Allied Health

ROSES

Multidisciplinary, Environmental, Biological

Campbell Collaboration

Social Sciences, Business, Education, Criminal Justice

PRISMA

Multidisciplinary, Medicine, Social Sciences, Environmental

Institute of Medicine

Medicine, Health Care, Allied Health

Centre for Reviews and Dissemination

Medicine, Health Care, Allied Health

Collaboration for Environmental Evidence Environmental
Joanna Briggs Institute Medicine, Health Care, Allied Health

Which guidelines should you follow?

The above are examples of standards that have been developed to guide a team of authors through the steps of a systematic review. The standards are built to ensure consistency of methodology, reporting, and reproducibility across reviews. Guidance for which set of standards to follow is available, but there is also some overlap in terms of subject area and criteria available. Our guidance is as follows:

  • Consult with your librarian
  • Consider your discipline
  • Find model published reviews and seek the guidelines followed within
  • Consider where your team plans to register a protocol
  • Consider where your team wants to publish a finalized review

Answering these questions will assist in identifying what set of standards may be the norm in your field, desired publication, and protocol registration venue.

Learn More

Methods Guides & Handbooks

Tutorials

Journal Articles About Methods

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