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Postgraduate Research in the Health Sciences Library Guide: Systematic Reviews

Library guide for postgraduate students and researchers.

Systematic Reviews

In evidence-based medicine, clinical decision-making is based on the integration of individual expertise, the best available evidence from systematic research and the needs and values of the patient. A systematic review includes a comprehensive search for primary studies on a particular clinical question, the critical evaluation of these studies and a synthesis of results according to a pre-determined methodology which may include meta-analyses of data. PubMed Health have produced a useful introduction, What is a Systematic Review?

Reporting guidelines

Campbell Collaboration

The Campbell Collaboration prepares, maintains and disseminates systematic reviews in education, crime and justice, and social welfare. This includes a library of systematic reviews and review templates.

Rapid Reviews

Rapid reviews are similar to systematic reviews in their attempt at answering a clinical question to inform decision-making. However, the rapid review has a much shorter time frame, fewer databases are searched and there is often limited or no hand searching or grey literature searching done. This would increase the risk of bias.

Systematic Reviews - Recommended Reading