Researchers conducting a systematic review need to follow fixed yet flexible and iterative processes that describe necessary steps required to produce a rigorous synthesis of the literature.
Source: Foster, M.J. and Jewell, S.T. (eds.), 2017. Assembling the pieces of a systematic review: a guide for librarians. Available from: ProQuest Ebook Central. [2 June 2020].
Higgins JPT, Thomas J, Chandler J, Cumpston M, Li T, Page MJ, Welch VA (editors). Cochrane Handbook for Systematic Reviews of Interventions version 6.0 (updated July 2019). Cochrane, 2019. Available from www.training.cochrane.org/handbook.
The Systematic Review Toolbox is a searchable online catalogue of tools that support various tasks within the systematic review and wider evidence synthesis process.
The toolbox aims to help researchers and reviewers find:
PRISMA is an evidence-based minimum set of items for reporting in systematic reviews and meta-analyses. PRISMA focuses on the reporting of reviews evaluating randomized trials, but can also be used as a basis for reporting systematic reviews of other types of research.
"A systematic review attempts to identify, appraise and synthesize all the empirical evidence that meets pre-specified eligibility criteria to answer a specific research question. Researchers conducting systematic reviews use explicit, systematic methods that are selected with a view aimed at minimizing bias, to produce more reliable findings to inform decision making".
In contrast to the traditional literature review, systematic literature reviews use a more rigorous and precise approach to reviewing the literature in a specific subject area.
►They deliver a clear and comprehensive overview of available evidence on a given area.
►They help identify research gaps in our current understanding of a field.
►They can highlight methodological concerns in research that can be used to improve future work in the area.
►They can be used to identify questions for which the available evidence provides clear answers and consequently further research is not needed.
It is common to confuse systematic and literature reviews as both are used to provide a summary of the existing literature or research in a specific area.
Table from: Robinson, P. and Lowe, J., 2015. Literature reviews vs systematic reviews. Australian and New Zealand journal of public health, 39(2), pp.103-103. https://doi.org/10.1111/1753-6405.12393
Protocols are used to pre-establish objectives and methods for your systematic review. They should be established prior to the formal literature search to help decrease bias. Registering protocols is recommended to avoid duplication of effort. Once you've developed your protocol, register it!
PROSPERO is the International prospective register of systematic reviews in health and social care, welfare, public health, education, crime, justice, and international development,
Library staff are available to consult with researchers and offer training to:
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