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Systematic Review

What Is a Systematic Review?

From the Cochrane Handbook for Systematic Reviews of Interventions:

"A systematic review 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 (Antman 1992, Oxman 1993). The key characteristics of a systematic review are:

  • a clearly stated set of objectives with pre-defined eligibility criteria for studies;

  • an explicit, reproducible methodology;

  • a systematic search that attempts to identify all studies that would meet the eligibility criteria;

  • an assessment of the validity of the findings of the included studies, for example through the assessment of risk of bias; and

  • a systematic presentation, and synthesis, of the characteristics and findings of the included studies"

Higgins JPT, Green S (editors). Cochrane Handbook for Systematic Reviews of Interventions Version 5.1.0 [updated March 2011]. The Cochrane Collaboration, 2011. Available from www.handbook.cochrane.org.

IOM Standards for Systematic Reviews

The Institutes of Medicine was renamed in 2016 to the The Health and Medicine Division (HMD) of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. Their guidelines are one of the gold standards for SR's and explicitly discuss team building, creation, and reporting standards for your SR.

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