A systematic review attempts to collate all the empirical evidence that fits pre-specified eligibility criteria in order to answer a specific research question.
Lasserson TJ, Thomas J, Higgins JPT. Chapter 1: Starting a review. In: Higgins JPT, Thomas J, Chandler J, Cumpston M, Li T, Page MJ, Welch VA (editors). Cochrane Handbook for Systematic Reviews of Interventions version 6.0 (updated July 2019). Cochrane, 2019. Available from http://www.training.cochrane.org/handbook
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.