1. First read the “Systematic Review Overviews” and “Planning” section of this Guide to get familiar with the systematic reviews, and decide whether SR is the best type of review to answer your research question. It is important to know the difference between a Systematic Review and a literature review conducted in systematic ways. If you are interested in the latter, read the how-to books on literature reviews featured in here.
2. Find the systematic reviews in your field (or on your topic), and read them.
3. Read the books on how-to’s of SRs such as “Systematic Reviews in the Social Sciences”
4. Check out SR Registries to see if there are any ongoing SR projects. If you are conducting a Scoping Review, consider registering your Scoping Review at Open Science Framework. PROSPERO does not accept scoping reviews.
5. Schedule a meeting with your liaison librarian to discuss your search strategy.
The international Campbell Collaboration (C2) is a non-profit organization that aims to help people make well-informed decisions about the effects of interventions in the social, behavioral and educational arenas: Methods, Business & Management, Crime & Justice, Disability, Education, International Development (including Nutrition), Knowledge Translation & Implementation, and Social Welfare.
Searching for studies: A guide to information retrieval for Campbell Systematic Reviews
An article that explains how to search Campbell Library
Center for Reviews & Dissemination (from University of York)
Systematic reviews and associated economic evaluations on population health to inform health policy and practice
Clearinghouse for Labor Evaluation and Research (CLEAR @ US Department of Labor)
Identifies and summarizes research on labor topics, including descriptive statistical studies and outcome analyses, implementation, and causal impact studies.
Environmental Evidence Library of Evidence Synthesis (from Collaboration for Environmental Evidence)
Systematic reviews and systematic maps of environmental issues approved by the CEE.
EPPI Centre (Institute of Education @ University College London, UK)
Evidence for Policy and Practice Information and Co-ordinating Centre (EPPI-Centre) is for developing methods for systematic reviewing and synthesis of research evidence. Explore
Knowledge Library for a list of systematic reviews conducted and supported by the Centre and Database of Promoting Health Effectiveness Reviews (DoPHER)
Systematic reviews of relevance to natural disasters, humanitarian crises or major healthcare emergencies that include health outcomes. Collections include the Health of refugees and asylum seekers in Europe, Zika, COVID-19, Ebola, Windstorms, and Prevention and treatment of acute malnutrition.
International Initiative for Impact Evaluation (3ie)
Database of primary studies and systematic reviews in international development.
KTDRR's Registry of Systematic Reviews (Center on Knowledge Translation for Disability and Rehabilitation Research @ American Institutes for Research)
A registry of systematic reviews on disability and rehabilitation topics
To find systematic reviews already published on your topic or in the field, search article databases such as:
ASSIA: Applied Social Sciences Indexes & Abstracts
PAIS Index (Public Affairs Information Service Index)
Social Sciences Premium Collection (ProQuest)
Search across a range of ProQuest’s specialist index and full-text social sciences databases, covering subject areas including Politics,
Sociology, Education, Linguistics, and Criminal Justice
Once log on to the database:
1. Enter keywords for the topic
2. Add search terms for systematic review*:
Systematic literature review
Systematic scoping review
Systematic narrative review
Systematic qualitative review
Systematic evidence review
Systematic quantitative review
Systematic critical review
Systematic mixed studies review
Systematic mapping review
Systematic Cochrane review
Systematic Campbell review
Systematic search and review
Systematic integrative review
*Source: Adapted from PubMed search filter for Systematic Reviews
3. Depending on the topic and the field, use alternative search terms relative to systematic reviews, instead. For example, for non-clinical studies of effectiveness such as policy or program evaluations *:
Quasi-experiment or quasi-experimental
Comparison group or comparative study
Interrupted time series, time-series studies, time series analysis(ITS),
Before and after study, controlled before and after study (CBA)
Longitudinal study, cohort study
Impact evaluation, impact assessment, outcome evaluation
*Source: Petticrew, M., & Roberts, H. (2006). Systematic reviews in the social sciences : a practical guide. Blackwell Pub.
3. Connect search terms of a similar concept by Boolean Operator OR, and search terms of a different concept by Boolean Operator AND, then run Search.
Search Example At EconLit or PAIS Index database
(healthcare OR "health care" OR "health services") AND ("impact evaluation" OR "impact assessment" OR "outcome evaluation" OR "program evaluation" OR "policy evaluation")
Search this Social Sciences research tool to learn about what a systemic review is, how to conduct it, and what tools help you to do it.
Mission: "The Campbell Collaboration promotes positive social and economic change through the production and use of systematic reviews and other evidence synthesis for evidence-based policy and practice."
Campbell Collaboration’s core areas of focus:
Campbell Methods Series: