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University of Washington Health Sciences Library

Systematic Reviews and other evidence synthesis projects

About this guide

This guide presents tools and advice for conducting Systematic Reviews and other evidence syntheses and comprehensive literature search projects:

  • Review types
  • Outline of the SR process
  • Formulating an effective search strategy
  • Selecting & searching databases
  • Managing search results
  • Reporting search methods
  • How HSL librarians can help

What is a Systematic Review?

A systematic review (SR) attempts to collate all empirical evidence that fits pre-specified eligibility criteria in order to answer a specific research question.  It  uses explicit, systematic methods that are selected with a view to minimizing bias, thus providing more reliable findings from which conclusions can be drawn and decisions made. (The Cochrane Handbook)

Key characteristics of a systematic review are:

  • a clearly defined topic, with pre-defined eligibility criteria for studies
  • a systematic and reproducible search strategy
  • a critical appraisal of included studies
  • data extraction and processing
  • analysis and interpretation of results

For more information see Guides for Conducting Systematic Reviews on the SR Process tab.

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