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Systematic Review

A systematic review aims to comprehensively locate and synthesize research that bears on a particular question, using organized, transparent, and replicable procedures at each step in the process.

What is a systematic review?

The key characteristics of a systematic review are:

  • a clearly stated set of objectives with pre-defined eligibility criteria for studies;

  • an explicit, reproducible methodology;

  • a systematic search that attempts to identify all studies that would meet the eligibility criteria;

  • an assessment of the validity of the findings of the included studies, for example through the assessment of risk of bias;

  • a systematic presentation, and synthesis, of the characteristics and findings of the included studies.

Literature about how to do Systematic Reviews

Boland, A., Cherry, M. G., & Dickson, R. (2014). Doing a systematic review : A student's guide. London : SAGE,.

Booth, A., Papaioannou, D., & Sutton, A. (2012). Systematic approaches to a successful literature review. Los Angeles [etc.] : SAGE,.

Higgins, J. P. T., & Green, S. (Eds.). (2011). Cochrane handbook for systematic reviews of interventions (Version 5.1.0 ed.) The Cochrane Collaboration.

Jesson, J. K., Matheson, L., & Lacey, F. M. (2011). Doing your literature review : Traditional and systematic techniques. Los Angeles, CA [etc.] : SAGE,.


This Cochrane online learning module provides an overview of the rationale and process of undertaking a systematic review.


PRISMA-P 2015 checklist

Recommends the items to include in a systematic review protocol.

PRISMA-P consists of a 17-item checklist intended to facilitate the preparation and reporting of a robust protocol for the systematic review.