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Systematic Reviews: Systematic Review

Collaborate with your Librarian

How can library help?

Librarian can partner with you and advise on how to start a systematic review. 

Basic Service includes: 

  • Provide overview of the systematic review (SR) process
  • Inform researcher of SR standards (IOM, PRISMA, Cochrane)
  • Assist researcher with formulating the research question
  • Identify existing systematic reviews on your topic
  • Recommend appropriate databases
  • Reviewing and developing search strategies for finding resources on your topic 

Students needing help with systematic reviews can contact Research Support Librarian to learn about the process.                             

Systematic review service is available to faculty, residents and students.  Services include: 

  • Provide overview of the systematic review (SR) process
  • Inform researcher of SR standards (IOM, PRISMA, Cochrane)
  • Assist researcher with formulating the research question
  • Suggest databases for searching
  • Design the main search strategy
  • Conduct the search in multiple databases
  • De-duplicate and merge the citations
  • Deliver citations in preferred citation management software (EndNote, Refworks, Mendeley etc)
  • Provide basic guidance on screening process
  • Provide researcher with several documents to include in publication (partially completed PRISMA flowchart, Citation Data Tracking, and search strategies)
  • Assist in writing Methods section for publication
  • Instruct how to obtain full text of articles through ILL if necessary
  • Run update of searches prior to publication (as required by standards)
  • Librarian listed as contributing author is required for this option

What is a Systematic Review?

A systematic review is an authoritative account of existing evidence using reliable, objective, thorough and reproducible research practices.

A systematic review identifies, appraises and synthesizes the evidence that meets pre-specified eligibility criteria to answer a given research question.

Explicit methodologies are used, which are aimed at minimizing bias and producing reliable findings.

The search strategy used in the review ideally should follow established guidelines, should be comprehensive, reproducible and documented.

The Cochrane Handbook ( states:   Systematic reviews of interventions require a thorough, objective and reproducible search of a range of sources to identify as many relevant studies as possible. This is a major factor in distinguishing systematic reviews from traditional narrative reviews and helps to minimize bias and therefore assist in achieving reliable estimates of effects. [1]

[1] Lefebvre C, Manheimer E, Glanville J. Chapter 6: Searching for studies.  In: 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

Systematic Review Explained- Cochrane

Conducting a Systematic Review

Systematic Review Request Form

Systematic Review Training Services

Training Services are available to all staff, faculty and students.  Research Support Librarian offers two types of consultation services: Individual/Small Group Instruction or Search Strategy Critique Service.

Schedule an Instructional Session:

Please contact  library to schedule an individual, small group or class educational session.