A systematic review is a summary of the literature on a particular topic.
It is a critical assessment and evaluation of all research studies that cover a particular subject field.
It utilises an organised method of locating, assembling, and evaluating a body of literature using a set of specific criteria.
This guide should help you with the part of the review which involves searching for the literature.
A systematic review should:
- Identify all relevant published and unpublished evidence.
- Select studies or reports for inclusion.
- Assess the quality of each study or report.
- Synthesise the findings from the individual studies or reports in an unbiased way.
- Interpret the findings and present a balanced and impartial summary of the findings with due consideration of any flaws in the evidence.
Hemingway, P (2009).
Here are a couple of very useful articles which will help you to understand how they work:
Hemingway, P (2009). What is a systematic review? Available from - http://www.medicine.ox.ac.uk/bandolier/painres/download/whatis/syst-review.pdf [Accessed: 27/11/13]
Khan, K. (2003) ‘Five steps to conducting a systematic review', Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine, vol. 96, pp. 118-121