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University of Washington Health Sciences Library

Systematic Reviews and other evidence synthesis projects

Steps in Producing a Systematic Review

  1. Define the question

  2. Check for recent systematic reviews and protocols

  3. Create a review protocol, and register it if appropriate

  4. Design and conduct reproducible, comprehensive searches

  5. Organize and screen search results

  6. Appraise the quality of the studies

  7. Extract data

  8. Analyze and present results

  9. Interpret results

  10. Write up the report

For additional resources, see Yale University systematic review searching tutorials, Cornell University's Evidence Synthesis Guide, University of Toledo's Systematic Review guide, or the McGill guide to systematic reviews, scoping reviews, and other review types. Cornell also has videos from their Systematic Reviews and Evidence Synthesis Beyond the Health Sciences: A Training for Librarians class.

Guides for Conducting Systematic Reviews

Multiple guidelines and standards exist to aid researchers in the creation of high quality systematic reviews and other evidence syntheses.

Reviews may be conducted in accordance to specific internationally-established guidelines, such as Cochrane, the Joanna Briggs Institute, the Campbell Collaboration, and the Collaboration for Environmental Evidence. These follow the most rigorous standards for planning, executing and reporting this type of research. Even if you are not conducting a review for one of these organizations, you may still find it valuable to review their guidance documents. Alternately, reviews may adhere to reporting standards, such as PRISMA or MOOSE. Many of these guidelines have additional guidance on specific review content, such as Cochrane's section on systematic reviews on patient-reported outcomes or JBI's section on Systematic reviews of qualitative evidence.

  • Cochrane Collaboration Handbook
    Official document that describes in detail the process of preparing and maintaining Cochrane systematic reviews on the effects of healthcare interventions.
  • JBI Manual for Evidence Synthesis
    Official document that describes in detail the process of preparing a JBI systematic or scoping review. Includes instructions for reviews focusing on different types of evidence, such as effectiveness, prevalence, and qualitative evidence. 
  • Campbell Collaboration
    Systematic reviews of research evidence on the effectiveness of social programs, policies, and practices, including crime and justice, education, international development, and social welfare.
  • AMSTAR checklist
    The AMSTAR checklist can be used to evaluate the methodological quality of an extant systematic review or as a guide when creating a systematic review. Short for "A MeaSurement Tool to Assess systematic Reviews."
  • AHRQ Methods Guide for Comparative Effectiveness Research (CER)
    AHRQ definitions and descriptions of methods for systematic reviews of CER
    "For an SR to meet the definition of CER, it should compare at least two alternative interventions, treatments, or systems of care (IOM, 2009b). The interventions and comparators should enable patients and clinicians to balance the benefits and harms of potential treatment options."

 

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