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Systematic Reviews: SR and other comprehensive literature search project support

Systematic Reviews Searching

This guide presents tools and advice for conducting systematic reviews and other comprehensive literature search projects:

  • 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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