What does it take to do a systematic
Time: On average,
systematic reviews require 18 months of preparation or an average of 1139
A team: A
systematic review can't be done alone! You need to work with subject
experts to clarify issues related to the topic; librarians or information
specialists to develop comprehensive search strategies and identify appropriate
databases; reviewers to screen abstracts and read the full text; a statistician
who can assist with data analysis; and a project leader to coordinate and write
the final report.
clearly defined question: Clarify the key question(s) of your
systematic review and the rationale for each question. Use the PICO framework
to identify key concepts of the question. Determine inclusion/exclusion
written protocol: You need to write a protocol outlining the
study methodology. The protocol should include the rationale for the systematic
review, key questions broken into PICO components, inclusion/exclusion
criteria, literature searches for published/unpublished literature, data
abstraction/data management, assessment of methodological quality of individual
studies, data synthesis, and grading the evidence for each key question.
writing a protocol? See the University of Warwick's
template (Microsoft Word Document).
registered protocol: After you write the protocol, you should
register it with PROSPERO, an International Prospective Register of Systematic
Reviews. Registration is free and open to anyone undertaking systematic reviews
of the effects of interventions and strategies to prevent, diagnose, treat, and
monitor health conditions, for which there is a health related outcome.
information about registering protocols &
practices in systematic reviews: the importance of protocols &
international registry of systematic review protocols
searches: First, identify systematic reviews that may address
your key questions. Then, identify appropriate databases and conduct
comprehensive and detailed literature searches that can be documented and
management: You should have working knowledge of EndNote or
another citation management tool to help manage citations retrieved from
guidelines: Use appropriate guidelines for reporting your
review for publication.