A systematic review is a formal research study. It follows a clear, predefined structure to find, assess, and analyze studies that have all tried to answer a similar question. The results of a systematic review can provide a reliable picture of what we know - and what remains uncertain. It usually takes many months to do a systematic review.
Systematic review methods aim to minimize bias in reviewing research. Bias can result from a weakness or flaw in the way a review was designed, the way it was done, or the way it was analyzed.
Are you a student needing to conduct a systematic review for your course? A Librarian can consult with you on the process.
Source: What is a Systematic Review?. Pubmed Health[Internet]. Bethesda (MD): National Library of Medicine (US)
Systematic Reviews, for publication, can take upwards of 12-18 months.
If you do not have the time to commit, consider other reviews options.
Check to see if a systematic review already exists on your topic. If one does, think about how yours will build upon this and other past work. You might need to choose a different topic. Search the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, PubMed and other databases such as CINAHL, to find reviews. In PubMed search for existing systematic reviews by apply the Article Type - Systematic Review filter to your search, or use this link to begin a search for systematic reviews and simply add your topic terms: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/?myncbishare=umochsclib&otool=umochsclib&term=%22systematic%20review%22[Publication%20Type]
Creating a protocol or a research plan is an important first step for your review. It gives direction to your project by defining your research question. Protocols are used to describe your topic, the rationale, inclusion/exclusion criteria and planned methods for the review. Preparing your research plan before the start of the review will help keep your project on track.
If you are planning to publish your review, registering your protocol is an indication of your plans to other researchers. Major review organizations, like the Cochrane Collaboration, require a protocol be developed and registered before a review is begun.
The following are resources that make creating a protocol or proposal easier:
It is recommended that you register your protocol before conducting your review. Registering your protocol in a publicly accessible database will improve transparency as well as alerting other researchers of your intentions so efforts are not duplicated. It is a best practice to search for publicly registered reviews on your topic before starting the review process. Registering your protocol helps to avoid unintended duplication of reviews and increases transparency.
Where to Register Your Protocol
Librarians with expert searching skills are available to assist researchers, review teams and graduate students in developing effective search strategies for comprehensive reviews such as systematic reviews, scoping reviews, integrative reviews, etc.
For those students, a librarian can help you in:
Depending on the research question, number of databases and available librarian time, it takes around 1-2 weeks for the librarian to consult and/or develop all search strategies.
For those who plan to publish their review, here's how a librarian can help:
Depending on the research question, number of databases and available librarian time, it takes around 4-6 weeks for the librarian to consult and/or develop all search strategies.
To get a better sense of your project, we suggest making an appointment with a librarian.
Before your consultation, we suggest you do the following prior to the consultation: