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Systematic Reviews: Introduction

Learn how to conduct a systematic review

What is a systematic review?


A systematic review attempts to collate all empirical evidence that fits pre-specified eligibility criteria in order to answer a specific research question. The key characteristics of a systematic review are:

  • a clearly defined question with inclusion & exclusion criteria;
  • rigorous & systematic search of the literature;
  • critical appraisal of included studies;
  • data extraction and management;
  • analysis & interpretation of results;
  • and report for publication.


Tip: watch this video


This LibGuide is bases on the Libguide Systematic Reviews from the Vrije Universiteit medical library, Amsterdam

Assistance with literature searches

UMCG-employees and (RUG) students are welcome to make an appointment about search strategy for a systematic review or a CAT.

We offer individual support for:

  • Systematic Reviews (search strategy development, optimalisation)
  • PICO-CAT (search strategy)
  • finding out why some articles are not retrieved with your search strategy
  • help to translate a search strategy to other databases
  • advice to update an older search strategy
  • find answers for questions about citation management/ deduplication​/ checklists for study quality/ reporting guidelines/ search filters

How can the Central Medical Library help?

Research librarians can partner with you on systematic reviews.

Add us to your author team and we will design and manage complex, thorough searches in multiple databases. We will also provide you with:

  • advise on reference management (EndNote),

  • tables with detailed search strategies,

  • a narrative of the search methodology.


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Sjoukje van der Werf
+31 (0)50 361 6197/ 6200