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Evidence Synthesis Methods including Systematic Reviews (SRs)

Tutorials, How To, Resources in support of teaching and conducting a systematic review.

Libraries' Services & Expertise

  • As contributor (co-author) on your research team
  • As consult to your review
  • I may not be able to work on your project in your ideal timeframe.
  • Note: I do not have to be involved for a systematic review to be accomplished; however, Cochrane as well as many other agencies have indicated that by having an information professional (librarian) involved will increase the success and decrease the bias of the study.

My Systematic Review Packet has all of the information you need to get started if you are interested in conducting a systematic review. Similar information and resources can be found on this guide, but if you are seriously considering conducting a systematic review or similar review, please review the packet and answer the questions within then contact me.

  • Over 50 hours of systematic review training
  • Published systematic reviews and several on-going
  • Taught several workshops on systematic reviews and similar studies
  • Acted as consultant or contributor for 15+ reviews
  • Peer-reviewer for Annals of Family Medicine for systematic methodologies submitted

Introduction to Systemtic Reviews: A Nutshell

systematic reviews can use different studiesA systematic review (SR)...“seeks to systematically search for, appraise and synthesize research evidence, often adhering to guidelines on the conduct review.” - Cochrane Handbook

Systematic reviews are NOT literature reviews.

SRs use primary studies as data and so are secondary studies. The quality of the studies included and the level of rigor in the search, defines the quality of the SR. Traditionally, a SR was only of randomized control trials (RCTs). But you can gather and analyze a variety of study types. Meaning, out of all of the evidence out there, whether it’s RCTs, case studies, thesis... what is of quality and answers my specific question.

Important Characteristics of a SR:
Systematically search (rigorous methodology)
Study appraisal (quality evidence)
Synthesis (answer question)
Guidelines (standards, protocols, etc.)

A Bit of History

SRs started gaining popularity in medicine in the 90s as a methodology to review all possible evidence at one time. SRs seek to answer a VERY specific question (such as a PICO) in order to eliminate bias and save time for your doctor to make a clinical decision. Or for policy makers to make a decision based on evidence, in a timely manner.

Basically, with the increase of literature, there was a need for a analyzing the studies that have been done so one did not have to read all 20 articles, but could rely on this one, review.