A systematic review (also systematic literature review or structured literature review, SLR) is a review of literature focused on a research question that tries to identify, appraise, select and synthesize all high quality research evidence relevant to that question. Systematic reviews of high-quality randomized controlled trials are crucial to evidence-based medicine.
An understanding of systematic reviews and how to implement them in practice is becoming mandatory for all professionals involved in the delivery of health care. Systematic reviews are not limited to medicine and are quite common in all other sciences where data are collected, published in the literature, and an assessment of methodological quality for a precisely defined subject would be helpful.
Annual Reviews critically reviews the most significant primary research literature to guide researchers to the principal contributions of their field and help them keep up to date in their area of research. Each article is its own search engine, provides a gateway to the essential primary research literature referenced within each topic.
Citations for journal articles, conference papers, and books on a wide variety of biological and biomedical topics.
Indexes journals, books, and conference proceedings are indexed on a wide variety of biological and biomedical topics.
Coverage: 1926 - present
A collection of six databases that contain different types of high-quality, independent evidence to inform healthcare decision-making.
Indexes journal articles, reviews, and bibliographies which provide evidence-based effects of health care, and a register of published economic evaluations of health care interventions and information on healthcare technology assessment from databases such as The Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, Controlled Trials Register, and the Database of Abstracts of Reviews of Effectiveness.
Coverage: date varies | Some full text |
Search for biomedical literature citations. Embase is a key resource for conducting systematic reviews and researching evidence-based medicine. Indexes journals, including many not in Medline and indexes conference abstracts. Broad biomedical scope with strong coverage in drug, pharmaceutical, and toxicological research including economic evaluation.
Coverage: dates vary
Not to be confused with a book review, a literature review surveys scholarly articles, books and other sources (e.g. dissertations, conference proceedings) relevant to a particular issue, area of research, or theory, providing a description, summary, and critical evaluation of each work. The purpose is to offer an overview of significant literature published on a topic.
Similar to primary research, development of the literature review requires four stages:
Literature reviews should comprise the following elements:
In assessing each piece, consideration should be given to:
3. Definition and Use/Purpose
A literature review may constitute an essential chapter of a thesis or dissertation, or may be a self-contained review of writings on a subject. In either case, its purpose is to:
The literature review itself, however, does not present new primary scholarship.