“A systematic review attempts to identify, appraise and synthesize all the empirical evidence that meets pre-specified eligibility criteria to answer a given research question. Researchers conducting systematic reviews use explicit methods aimed at minimizing bias, in order to produce more reliable findings that can be used to inform decision making.”
- Cochrane Library, About Cochrane Systematic Reviews and Protocols
“Library books,” CCAC North Library
Systematic Reviews are comprehensive analyses of all the scientific research on a specific question. They answer the question: what does the evidence say about this medical issue?
Systematic reviews are crucial to medical practice and research. They are a valuable resource for clinicians deciding on treatments, and they also reveal gaps in current research.
A systematic review is not the same as a narrative review or a literature review. Unlike other kinds of reviews, systematic ones must be as thorough and unbiased as possible, and must also make explicit how the search was conducted.
“Research - IMG_1367,” Nicola
A true systematic review:
If you are a student, you're probably not conducting a systematic review in the true sense, but are working on a systematic review-like project.
A scoping study can be defined as:"..a form of knowledge synthesis that addresses an exploratory research question aimed at mapping key concepts, types of evidence, and gaps in research related to a defined area or field by systematically searching, selecting and synthesizing existing knowledge." (from: Colquhoun, H. L., Levac, D., O'Brien, K. K., Straus, S., Tricco, A. C., Perrier, L., . . . Moher, D. (2014). Scoping reviews: Time for clarity in definition, methods, and reporting. Journal of Clinical Epidemiology,(12), 1291-1294. ).
Common reasons for conducting a scoping study:
(from Arksey, H., O'Malley, L. (2005). Scoping studies: towards a methodological framework. International Journal of Social Research Methodology, 8(1): 19-32.)
Scoping studies typically involve six steps: