What is a systematic review? (Bambra, 2009)
|1. A method of locating, appraising, and synthesizing evidence|
|2. A review of a clearly formulated question that uses systematic and explicit methods to identify, select, and critically appraise relevant research|
Finding What Works in Health Care: Standards for Systematic Reviews.
|PRISMA: Transparent Reporting of Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses.
PRISMA (Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses). 2015
Cochrane handbook for systematic reviews of interventions.
Overview of Process
- Develop a focused question (PICO -Population, Intervention, Comparison, Outcome)
- Identify inclusion and exclusion criteria
- Appreciate possible sources of bias
- Develop and execute literature search strategy
- Plan how to assess the quality of the studies & how to extract the data from the studies
Where to Search
|Web of Science||Database|
|Global Health Library - WHO||Regional Database|
|Cochrane Library||Systematic Review Database|
Basic Search Tips
- Divide topic into key concepts
- Convert concepts to search terms (subject terms and keywords). In PubMed, use MeSH terms (medical subject headings). [video tutorial]
- Search concepts individually, then combine using Booleans (AND, OR, NOT)
- Apply limits such as date of publication, type, language, age groups, human/animal
- Manage results with MyNCBI, EndNote, or similar reference management programs
PubMed Search Tips
For additional PubMed assistance, see:
- Aromataris, E. & Pearson, A. (2014). The Systematic Review: an Overview. American Journal of Nursing, 114 (3), 53-8.
- Bambra, C. (2011). Real world reviews: A beginner's guide to undertaking systematic reviews of public health policy interventions. Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, 65(1), 14-9.
- Jackson, N, & Waters, E. (2004). The challenges of systematically reviewing public health interventions. Journal of Public Health, 26(3), 303-7.
- Jackson, N, & Waters, E. (2005). Criteria for the systematic review of health promotion and public health interventions. Health Promotion International, 20(4), 367-74.
- Montori, V. et al. (2005). Optimal search strategies for retrieving systematic reviews from Medline: analytical survey. BMJ, 330 (7482), 68-73.
- Mullen, P D, & RamÃrez, G. (2006). The promise and pitfalls of systematic reviews. Annual Review of Public Health, 27, 81-102.
- Petticrew, M. (2009). Systematic reviews in public health: Old chestnuts and new challenges. Bulletin of the World Health Organization, 87(3), 163-163A.
- Russell, R, Chung, M, Balk, E M, et al. (2009). Opportunities and challenges in conducting systematic reviews to support the development of nutrient reference values: Vitamin a as an example. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 89(3), 728-733.
Also see a series of papers published in Lancet in 2002 by DA Grimes and KF Schulz :
- An overview of clinical research: The lay of the land. Lancet 2002; 359:57-61.
- Descriptive studies: What they can and cannot do. Lancet 2002;359:145-9.
- Bias and causal associations in observational research. Lancet 2002; 359:248-52.
- Cohort Studies: Marching toward outcomes. Lancet 2002;359:341-5.
- Egger M, S. G. (2013). Systematic reviews in health care: meta-analysis in context. Somerset: Wiley. eBook.
- Khan KS, K. R. (2011). Systematic reviews to support evidence-based medicine: how to review and apply findings of healthcare research. London: Hodder Arnold.