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Evidence Synthesis/Systematic Reviews: Systematic Review

Systematic Review

Systematic Review is an extensive synthesizing of the evidence which seeks to find, appraise and synthesize the evidence for a specific question to establish the effectiveness of an intervention or to prepare for a meta analysis. They support decision making, developments in best practice and can make recommendations for future research. This type of review is exhaustive, transparent and must be reproducible to keep up to date and for verification. Preferably a systematic review is conducted by a team to reduce bias.

Deakin University Library (2022), 'Systematic and systematic-like reviews', available at: Systematic and systematic-like reviews overview - Systematic and systematic-like review toolkit - LibGuides at Deakin University, [accessed 20 December 2022].

What are systematic reviews?

Key steps in conducting a systematic review

1. Formulate the research question

2. Set up the team

3. Create a review protocol

4. Conduct a thorough search of existing information

5. Select studies per your protocol

6. Appraise the quality of the studies

7. Extract data

8. Summarise the evidence

9. Interpret the findings

10. Write up the report



Cochrane Handbook for Systematic Reviews of Interventions sets out each step of the review and the Cochrane principles can also be applied to non Cochrane reviews.

MECIR (Methodological Expectations for Cochrane Intervention Reviews) standards for reviews, updates and protocols to comply with.

PRESS (Peer Review of Electronic Search Strategies) - guidelines for evaluating electronic search strategies.

PRISMA (Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta Analyses). PRISMA 2020 statement: updated guidelines.