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Systematic Reviews: Home


What is a Systematic Review?

  • A type of review to identify, appraise, and synthesize all the empirical evidence that meets pre-specified eligibility criteria to answer a specific research question.
  • Use explicit, systematic methods that are selected with a view aimed at minimizing bias to produce more reliable findings to inform decision making. 
  • Drawing an overall understanding of what has been found on the same thing from multiple studies helps make decisions and do practices based on scientific evidence. (Cochrane Library, 2020). 
  • Read more. . .

About this Guide

This Guide was created by a joint effort of the College of Medicine Maguire Medical Library and the University Libraries at FSU to help you get started with your systematic review process and find tools and guidance on each stage of the process. Whereas a broad range of resources and guidance for SRs are presented throughout the Guide, some specialized resources and tips for systematic reviews in social and behavioral sciences are available on the Social Sciences SR page of this Guide. 

Currently, we do not have the staffing capacity to be a part of the entire systematic review process, but we encourage you to reach out to your subject librarian for assistance in developing a study protocol. 

Which Review Method is Right for You?

Before you get started, know whether a systematic review is the right type of review for your study.  Ask yourself the following questions first:

1. What are the goals of your review? 

  • To identify one or a small number of research articles that meet a narrow set of criteria? 
  • To learn about a concept of the body of research, including its characteristics (volume of evidence, type of research, terms, etc.)? 
  • To identify all records on a specific topic through an unbiased, transparent, and reproducible search? 

2. What resources and time frame do you have to conduct the review study? 

Depending on the goals and available resources, systematic reviews might not be the best method for your review.  Check out the following resources to decide the right method for your study. 

  • An interactive survey (from the Univ. of Manitoba Libraries) that helps to choose the right review method for the given research question:
  • A pdf document of Q&As on how to choose the right review method for knowledge synthesis of quantitative studies. 
    (from St. Michael's Hospital (in Canada) 
  • A decision-tree map (from Yale Health Science Library) 

Resources on different types of reviews

Selected References on Scoping Reviews and Umbrella Reviews
Scoping reviews serve to synthesize evidence and assess the scope of literature on a topic. Among other objectives, scoping reviews help determine whether a systematic review of the literature is warranted.

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