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Systematic Reviews should address a clearly formulated, relatively narrowly focused question and use systematic and explicit methods to identify, select, and assess relevant research.
Before you embark on a systematic review, please understand that this could easily be a one year or more project. Here is a decision tree (source) to help you decide is a systematic, or other type or review, is appropriate. The SPARK Tool to prioritise questions for systematic reviews in health policy and systems research can help you decide if a systematic review is appropriate and needed. If you do decide to conduct a systematic review, please register your protocol.
You may also 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.). (Table reproduced from A typology of reviews: an analysis of 14 review types and associated methodologies).
These articles may also be helpful:
How to conduct a systematic review from beginning to end (from Covidence; easy to read summary of the 7 steps).
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.
Performing Rapid Reviews. King VJ et al. Systematic Reviews 2022; 11:151.
The difference between a systematic review and a scoping review (from Covidence).
Systematic vs Scoping Review: What's the Difference? (5 minute video, Carrie Price, Health Professions Librarian, Towson University).
PRISMA for Scoping Reviews. Includes a checklist with 20 essential reporting items and 2 optional items to include when completing a scoping review, as well as one-page tip sheets on each item.
An article on the importance of looking at the science behind the articles you review when assessing quality: Challenges and recommendations on the conduct of systematic reviews of observational epidemiologic studies in environmental and occupational health Arroyave WD, et al. Journal of exposure science & environmental epidemiology 2021; 31(1):21-30.
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. Many tutorials, help pages, webinar recordings, and more may be found in the Covidence Knowledge Base.
How long will it take to complete a systematic review? Use the PredicTER tool to find out!