A systematic review attempts to collect and analyze all evidence that answers a specific question. The question must be clearly defined and have inclusion and exclusion criteria. A broad and thorough search of the literature is performed and a critical analysis of the search results is reported and ultimately provides a current evidence-based answer to the specific question (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, n.d.).
"Systematic literature reviews including meta-analyses are invaluable scientific activities. The rationale for such reviews is well established. Health care providers, researchers, and policy makers are inundated with unmanageable amounts of information; they need systematic reviews to efficiently integrate existing information and provide data for rational decision making. Systematic reviews establish whether scientific findings are consistent and can be generalised across populations, settings, and treatment variations, or whether findings vary significantly by particular subsets. Meta-analyses in particular can increase power and precision of estimates of treatment effects and exposure risks. Finally, explicit methods used in systematic reviews limit bias and, hopefully, will improve reliability and accuracy of conclusions (Mulrow, 1994)."
A systematic review involves the following steps:
Have a look at the Monash University Systematic Review Guide for more detailed instructions.
Self-directed learning resources on conducting a complete systematic review process for both new and experienced review authors. You will need to create your own account.
Sign up to use the Institute for Evidence-Based Healthcare's tools to help in compiling a Systematic Literature Review.
Campbell Systematic Reviews is the peer-reviewed online monograph series of systematic reviews prepared under the editorial control of the Campbell Collaboration. Campbell systematic reviews follow structured guidelines and standards for summarizing the international research evidence on the effects of interventions in crime and justice, education, international development, and social welfare.
Campbell Systematic Reviews is published bimonthly. Issues contain reviews only, not protocols or title registration documents. These may be retrieved from The Campbell Library.
Systematic Reviews encompasses all aspects of the design, conduct and reporting of systematic reviews. The journal aims to publish high quality systematic review products including systematic review protocols, systematic reviews related to a very broad definition of health, rapid reviews, updates of already completed systematic reviews, and methods research related to the science of systematic reviews, such as decision modeling. The journal also aims to ensure that the results of all well-conducted systematic reviews are published, regardless of their outcome.