Systematic reviews seek to collate all evidence that fits pre-specified eligibility criteria in order to address a specific research question. They aim to minimize bias by using explicit, systematic methods. (from Cochrane Handbook for Systematic Reviews of Interventions)
A systematic review is a review that reports or includes the following:
i) research question
ii) sources that were searched, with a reproducible search strategy (naming of databases, naming of search platforms/engines, search date and complete search strategy)
iii) inclusion and exclusion criteria
iv) selection (screening) methods
v) critically appraises and reports the quality/risk of bias of the included studies
vi) information about data analysis and synthesis that allows the reproducibility of the results
(from Krnic Martinic, M., Pieper, D., Glatt, A. et al. Definition of a systematic review used in overviews of systematic reviews, meta-epidemiological studies and textbooks. BMC Med Res Methodol 19, 203 (2019) doi:10.1186/s12874-019-0855-0)
Before you embark on a systematic review, please understand that this could easily be a one year or more project.
You may wish to peruse UCSF's Systematic Review Guide for information. You may also wish to consider conducting another type of literature review; see this table for information on several types of reviews (eg, scoping review, mapping review, rapid review, etc.)
These articles may also be helpful:
Five steps to conducting a systematic review. Khan KS, Kunz R, Kleijnen J, Antes G. Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine. 2003 Mar;96(3):118-21. PubMed PMID: 12612111
A Guide to Conducting a Standalone Systematic Literature Review Okoli C. Communications of the Association for Information Systems 2015; 37(1): 879-910.
Consult the Cochrane Handbook for Systematic Reviews of Interventions (2nd edition) for a very thorough discussion of the systematic review process.
UC Berkeley licenses Covidence, a tool to help you with your systematic reviews.
In Covidence, you can:
screen titles and abstracts,
screen full text,
create forms for critical appraisal,
perform risk of bias tables,
complete data extraction, and
export a PRISMA flowchart summarizing your review process.
As an institutional member, our users have priority access to Covidence support. Our license allows unlimited simultaneous reviews, and you can add people who are not affiliated with UCB.
To access Covidence using the UC Berkeley institutional account, start at this page and follow the instructions.