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Systematic Reviews

This guide includes content about systematic reviews, including general information and information about librarian assistance.

What is a systematic review?

  • This type of review is a specific methodology that aims to comprehensively identify all relevant studies on a specific topic, and to select appropriate studies based on explicit criteria.
  • In contrast to a conventional literature review, a systematic review (SR) is transparent, verifiable, and reproducible, and, as a result, the likelihood of bias is considerably smaller.
  • Many SRs (but not all) also include a meta-analysis, in which statistical analysis techniques are used to combine the results of individual studies to arrive at a more accurate estimate of effects.
  • In some cases, systematic reviews are not only used as a way to aggregate evidence relating to a specific topic, but also to make clear what is not known and, thereby, to direct new primary research into areas where there is a gap in the body of knowledge.

Systematic reviews are meant to be transparent and reproducible. Meeting with a librarian for your search strategy will help with this.