A systematic review seeks to collate all evidence that fits pre-specified eligibility criteria in order to answer a specific research question.
The key characteristics of a systematic review are:
Types of Reviews:
Time: The average systematic review can take 18 months.
A Team: A systematic review can't be done alone! Your team should include a subject expert to clarify issues related to the topic; a librarian to identify appropriate databases and develop comprehensive search strategies; reviewers (min. of 2) to screen abstracts and read the full-text; a statistician to assist with data analysis; and a project leader to coordinate and write the final report.
A Clearly Defined Question: Define your research question using the PICO or PICOT format.
P = Patient, Population, and/or Problem
I = Intervention
C = Comparison (not always applicable)
O = Outcome
T = Time and/or Type of Study
Comprehensive Literature Searches: Work with a librarian to identity appropriate databases to search and to develop the search strategy.
Citation Management: Use a citation management program to help manage citations retrieved from the literature search.