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Systematic Review Guide

What is a Systematic Review?

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.”*

*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, Section 1.2.2 

As part of your systematic review project team, Becker librarians:

  • Design a comprehensive search strategy that complies with best practices and current systematic review standards
  • Translate search strategies across multiple resources
  • Provide search results using citation management software
  • Write the complete search methodology that can be included in the final systematic review manuscript

Click on the Becker SR service tab for more information and to request assistance with your systematic review!

Becker Librarian Authored Systematic Reviews

Boots, C. E., Meister, M., Cooper, A. R., Hardi, A., & Jungheim, E. S. (2016). Ovarian stimulation in the luteal phase: systematic review and meta-analysis. Journal of Assisted Reproduction and Genetics, 33(8), 971-980. doi:10.1007/s10815-016-0721-5

Chin-Yee, D., Eck, T., Fowler, S., Hardi, A., & Apte, R. S. (2016). A systematic review of as needed versus treat and extend ranibizumab or bevacizumab treatment regimens for neovascular age-related macular degeneration. British Journal of Ophthalmology, 100(7), 914-917. doi:10.1136/bjophthalmol-2015-306987

Davis, J., Sanford, D., Schilling, J., Hardi, A., & Colditz, G. (2015). Systematic review of outcomes after noncardiac surgery in patients with implanted left ventricular assist devices. ASAIO Journal, 61(6), 648-651. doi:10.1097/MAT.0000000000000278

Drewry, A. M., Ablordeppey, E. A., Murray, E. T., Stoll, C. R. T., Izadi, S. R., Dalton, C. M., . . . Colditz, G. A. (2017). Antipyretic therapy in critically ill septic patients: A systematic review and meta-Analysis. Critical Care Medicine, 45(5), 806-813. doi:10.1097/CCM.0000000000002285

Eskew, A.M., Bedrick, B.S., Hardi, A., Stoll, CRT, Colditz, GA, Tuuli, MG, & Jungheim, ES (2019). Letrozole Compared with Clomiphene Citratre for Unexplaned Infertility: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis. Obstetrics and Gynecology, 133(1), 437-444. doi: 10.1097/AOG.0000000000003105

Levy, P. T., Machefsky, A., Sanchez, A. A., Patel, M. D., Rogal, S., Fowler, S., . . . Singh, G. K. (2016). Reference Ranges of Left Ventricular Strain Measures by Two-Dimensional Speckle-Tracking Echocardiography in Children: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. Journal of the American Society of Echocardiography, 29(3), 209-225. doi:10.1016/j.echo.2015.11.016

Lu, K., Marino, N. E., Russell, D., Singareddy, A., Zhang, D., Hardi, A., . . . Puri, V. (2018). Use of short message service and smartphone applications in the management of surgical patients: A systematic review. Telemedicine and e-Health, 24(6), 406-414. doi:10.1089/tmj.2017.0123

Potretzke, A. M., Knight, B. A., Vetter, J. M., Anderson, B. G., Hardi, A. C., Bhayani, S. B., & Figenshau, R. S. (2016). Diagnostic Utility of Selective Upper Tract Urinary Cytology: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis of the Literature. Urology, 96, 35-43. doi:10.1016/j.urology.2016.04.030

Sisk BA, Schulz GL, Mack JW, Yaeger L, DuBois J (2019) Communication interventions in adult and pediatric oncology: A scoping review and analysis of behavioral targets. PLoS ONE 14(8): e0221536.


Cheng, S.-Y., Davis, M., Jonson-Reid, M., & Yaeger, L. (Accepted) Compared to what? A meta-analysis of batterer intervention studies using non-treated controls or comparisons. Trauma, Violence, & Abuse


Burnham, J. P., Fritz, S. A., Yaeger, L. H., & Colditz, G. A. (2019). Telemedicine infectious diseases consultations and clinical outcomes: A systematic review and meta-analysis protocol. Systematic Reviews, 8(1) doi:10.1186/s13643-019-1056-y


Burnham, J. P., Lu, C., Yaeger, L. H., Bailey, T. C., & Kollef, M. H. (2018). Using wearable technology to predict health outcomes: a literature reviewJ Am Med Inform Assoc. doi:10.1093/jamia/ocy082


Levy, P. T., Machefsky, A., Sanchez, A. A., Patel, M. D., Rogal, S., Fowler, S., . . . Singh, G. K. (2016). Reference Ranges of Left Ventricular Strain Measures by Two-Dimensional Speckle-Tracking Echocardiography in Children: A Systematic Review and Meta-AnalysisJournal of the American Society of Echocardiography, 29(3), 209-225. doi:10.1016/j.echo.2015.11.016


Prouhet, P. M., Gregory, M. R., Russell, C. L., & Yaeger, L. H. (2018). Fathers' Stress in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit: A Systematic ReviewAdvances in Neonatal Care, 18(2), 105-120. doi:10.1097/ANC.0000000000000472

Vila, P. M., Ramsey, T., Yaeger, L. H., Desai, S. C., & Branham, G. H. (2018). Reporting of cosmesis in head and neck reconstruction: A systematic review. Otolaryngology - Head and Neck Surgery (United States), doi:10.1177/0194599818815061

Wick, C. C., Eivaz, N. A., Yaeger, L. H., Hunter, J. B., Isaacson, B., & Kutz, J. W. (2018). Case series and systematic review of radiation outcomes for endolymphatic sac tumors. Otology and Neurotology, 39(5), 550-557. doi:10.1097/MAO.0000000000001804

Karlow, N., Schlaepfer, C. H., Stoll, C. R. T., Doering, M., Carpenter, C. R., Colditz, G. A., . . . Schwarz, E. S. (2018). A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis of Ketamine as an Alternative to Opioids for Acute Pain in the Emergency DepartmentAcademic Emergency Medicine. doi:10.1111/acem.13502

Schulz, G. L., Kelly, K. P., Holtmann, M., Doering, M. M., & Armer, J. M. (2018). Decision making in pediatric hematopoietic cell transplantation: Influential factors vary among diseasesPediatric Blood and Cancer, 65(4). doi:10.1002/pbc.26890

Sinha, P., Karadaghy, O. A., Doering, M. M., Tuuli, M. G., Jackson, R. S., & Haughey, B. H. (2018). Survival for HPV-positive oropharyngeal squamous cell carcinoma with surgical versus non-surgical treatment approach: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Oral Oncology, 86, 121-131. doi:10.1016/j.oraloncology.2018.09.018

Valenzuela, C. V., Liu, J. C., Vila, P. M., Simon, L., Doering, M., & Lieu, J. E. C. (2019). Intranasal corticosteroids do not lead to ocular changes: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Laryngoscope, 129(1), 6-12. doi:10.1002/lary.27209



Laurido-Soto, O., Brier, M.R., Simon, L.E., McCullough, A., Bucelli, R.C. & Day, G.S. (2019). Patient Characteristics and Outcome Associations in AMPA Receptor Encephalitis. Journal of Neurology. DOI: 10.1007/s00415-018-9153-8

Lewkowitz, A.K., Gupta, A.B., Simon, L., Sabol, B.A., Stoll, C., Cooke, E., Rampersad, R.A., & Tuuli, M.G. (2019). Intravenous Compared with Oral Iron for the Treatment of Iron-Deficiency Anemia in Pregnancy: a Systematic Review and Meta-analysis. Journal of Perinatology. DOI: 10.1038/s41372-019-0320-2

Valenzuela, C.V., Liu, J.C. Vila, P.M., Simon, L. Doering, M., & Lieu, J.E.C. (2019). Intranasal Corticosteroids Do Not Lead to Ocular Changes: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis. Laryngoscope. DOI: 10.1002/lary.27209

Yu, L., Kronen, R. J., Simon, L. E., Stoll, C. R. T., Colditz, G. A., & Tuuli, M. G. (2017). Prophylactic negative-pressure wound therapy after cesarean is associated with reduced risk of surgical site infection: A systematic review and meta-analysis. American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology. doi:10.1016/j.ajog.2017.09.017

Conner, S. N., Bedell, V., Lipsey, K., Macones, G. A., Cahill, A. G., & Tuuli, M. G. (2016). Maternal Marijuana Use and Adverse Neonatal Outcomes: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis. Obstetrics and Gynecology, 128(4), 713-723. doi:10.1097/AOG.0000000000001649

Gebara, M. A., Lipsey, K. L., Karp, J. F., Nash, M. C., Iaboni, A., & Lenze, E. J. (2015). Cause or effect? selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors and falls in older adults: A systematic review. American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry, 23(10), 1016-1028. doi:10.1016/j.jagp.2014.11.004

Gebara, M. A., Shea, M. L. O., Lipsey, K. L., Teitelbaum, S. L., Civitelli, R., Müller, D. J., . . . Lenze, E. J. (2014). Depression, antidepressants, and bone health in older adults: A systematic review. Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, 62(8), 1434-1441. doi:10.1111/jgs.12945

Greenberg, J. K., Milner, E., Yarbrough, C. K., Lipsey, K., Piccirillo, J. F., Smyth, M. D., . . . Limbrick, D. D., Jr. (2015). Outcome methods used in clinical studies of Chiari malformation type I: A systematic review. Journal of Neurosurgery, 122(2), 262-272. doi:10.3171/2014.9.JNS14406

Wong, A. W. K., Chang, T. T., Christopher, K., Lau, S. C. L., Beaupin, L. K., Love, B., . . . Feuerstein, M. (2017). Patterns of unmet needs in adolescent and young adult (AYA) cancer survivors: in their own words. Journal of Cancer Survivorship, 11(6), 751-764. doi:10.1007/s11764-017-0613-4

Yarbrough, C. K., Ong, C. J., Beyer, A. B., Lipsey, K., & Derdeyn, C. P. (2015a). Endovascular Thrombectomy for Anterior Circulation Stroke: Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. Stroke, 46(11), 3177-3183. doi:10.1161/STROKEAHA.115.009847

Yarbrough, C. K., Ong, C. J., Beyer, A. B., Lipsey, K., & Derdeyn, C. P. (2015b). Erratum: Endovascular thrombectomy for anterior circulation stroke: Systematic review and meta-analysis (Stroke. 2015 46 (3177-3183)). Stroke, 46(11), e249. doi:10.1161/STR.0000000000000084

Zozula, A., Carpenter, C. R., Lipsey, K., & Stark, S. (2016). Prehospital emergency services screening and referral to reduce falls in community-dwelling older adults: A systematic review. Emergency Medicine Journal, 33(5), 345-350. doi:10.1136/emermed-2015-204815