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Systematic Review Guide

SR Project Steps

1. Develop a research question. PICO or other question framing devices can be used to clarify your question.

2. Define inclusion and exclusion criteria

3. Locate studies

4. Select studies for inclusion

5. Assess quality of studies

6. Extract data.

7. Analyze and present results

8. Interpret results

9. Update the review as needed

*Note: These steps are derived from the NIH presentation "Undertaking a Systematic Review: What you Need to Know":

Assembling a SR Project Team

Before embarking on a systematic review project, you should carefully consider all of the expertise you will need to define your research question, search for evidence, appraise/grade the evidence, and potentially complete a statistical meta-analysis of the data. To prevent problems with potential bias, solo Systematic Review projects are not advised. A typical team might look like:

  • 2-3 (or more!) researchers who are content experts for the systematic review topic.
  • A librarian trained in performing complex systematic review literature searches. The literature search is the foundation of the project, and it is crucial that a thorough, well-executed literature search be completed. 
  • A statistician (especially important for meta-analysis) 

Helpful Resources