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What is a Systematic Review?

A systematic review is a comprehensive literature search, appraisal, and synthesis project that aims to answer a well-defined, specific, research question using existing primary research. Explicit methods are used to minimize bias and produce more reliable findings to inform decision making. Protocols of systematic reviews and meta-analyses allow researchers to plan and document their review methods and they help minimize arbitrary decision making regarding eligibility criteria and data extraction.

Types of Reviews

To determine if a systematic review is the right type of review, view this diagram .

Learn more about the different types of literature reviews:

  • Grant, M. J., & Booth, A. (2009). A typology of reviews: an analysis of 14 review types and associated methodologies . Health information and libraries journal , 26 (2), 91–108. https://doi-org.proxy.uchicago.edu/10.1111/j.1471-1842.2009.00848.x
  • Sutton, A., Clowes, M., Preston, L., & Booth, A. (2019). Meeting the review family: exploring review types and associated information retrieval requirements. Health information and libraries journal , 36 (3), 202–222. https://doi-org.proxy.uchicago.edu/10.1111/hir.12276

Suggested Reading

Higgins JPT, Lasserson T, Chandler J, Tovey D, Thomas J, Flemyng E, Churchill R. Methodological Expectations of Cochrane Intervention Reviews . Cochrane: London, Version February 2022.

Higgins JPT, Thomas J, Chandler J, Cumpston M, Li T, Page MJ, Welch VA (editors). Cochrane Handbook for Systematic Reviews of Interventions version 6.4 (updated August 2023). Cochrane, 2023.

Institute of Medicine. (2011). Finding What Works in Health Care: Standards for Systematic Reviews . Washington, DC: The National Academies Press.

Page MJ, McKenzie JE, Bossuyt PM, Boutron I, Hoffmann TC, Mulrow CD, et al. (2020). The PRISMA 2020 statement: an updated guideline for reporting systematic reviews .

Umscheid, C. A. (2013). A Primer on Performing Systematic Reviews and Meta-analyses . Clinical Infectious Diseases, 57(5), 725-734.

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Ten Steps to Conduct a Systematic Review

Ernesto calderon martinez.

1 Digital Health, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Ciudad de Mexico, MEX

Jose R Flores Valdés

2 General Medicine, Universidad Autonoma de Guadalajara, Guadalajara, MEX

Jaqueline L Castillo

Jennifer v castillo.

3 General Medicine, Universidad Autónoma de Guadalajara, Guadalajara, MEX

Ronald M Blanco Montecino

4 Research, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas, USA

Julio E Morin Jimenez

5 General Medicine, Universidad Autónoma del Estado de México, Ciudad de Mexico, MEX

David Arriaga Escamilla

6 Internal Medicine, Universidad Justo Sierra, Ciudad de Mexico, MEX

Edna Diarte

7 Medicine, Universidad Autonoma de Sinaloa, Culiacan, MEX

This article introduces a concise 10-step guide tailored for researchers engaged in systematic reviews within the field of medicine and health, aligning with the imperative for evidence-based healthcare. The guide underscores the importance of integrating research evidence, clinical proficiency, and patient preferences. It emphasizes the need for precision in formulating research questions, utilizing tools such as PICO(S)(Population Intervention Comparator Outcome), PEO (Population Exposure Outcome), SPICE (setting, perspective, intervention/exposure/interest, comparison, and evaluation), and SPIDER (expectation, client group, location, impact, professionals, service and evaluation), and advocates for the validation of research ideas through preliminary investigations. The guide prioritizes transparency by recommending the documentation and registration of protocols on various platforms. It highlights the significance of a well-organized literature search, encouraging the involvement of experts to ensure a high-quality search strategy. The critical stages of screening titles and abstracts are navigated using different tools, each characterized by its specific advantages. This diverse approach aims to enhance the effectiveness of the systematic review process. In conclusion, this 10-step guide provides a practical framework for the rigorous conduct of systematic reviews in the domain of medicine and health. It addresses the unique challenges inherent in this field, emphasizing the values of transparency, precision, and ongoing efforts to improve primary research practices. The guide aims to contribute to the establishment of a robust evidence base, facilitating informed decision-making in healthcare.


The necessity of evidence-based healthcare, which prioritizes the integration of top-tier research evidence, clinical proficiency, and patient preferences, is increasingly recognized [ 1 , 2 ]. Due to the extensive amount and varied approaches of primary research, secondary research, particularly systematic reviews, is required to consolidate and interpret this information with minimal bias [ 3 , 4 ]. Systematic reviews, structured to reduce bias in the selection, examination, and consolidation of pertinent research studies, are highly regarded in the research evidence hierarchy. The aim is to enable objective, repeatable, and transparent healthcare decisions by reducing systematic errors.

To guarantee the quality and openness of systematic reviews, protocols are formulated, registered, and published prior to the commencement of the review process. Platforms such as PROSPERO (International Prospective Register of Systematic Reviews) aid in the registration of systematic review protocols, thereby enhancing transparency in the review process [ 5 ]. High-standard reviews comply with stringent peer review norms, ensuring that methodologies are revealed beforehand, thus reducing post hoc alterations for objective, repeatable, and transparent outcomes [ 6 ].

Nonetheless, the practical execution of systematic reviews, particularly in the field of medicine and health, poses difficulties for researchers. To address this, a succinct 10-step guide is offered to both seasoned and novice researchers, with the goal of improving the rigor and transparency of systematic reviews.

Technical report

Step 1: structure of your topic

When developing a research question for a systematic review or meta-analysis (SR/MA), it is essential to precisely outline the objectives of the study, taking into account potential effect modifiers. The research question should concentrate on and concisely explain the scientific elements and encapsulate the aim of the project.

Instruments such as PICO(S)(Population Intervention Comparator Outcome), PEO (Population Exposure Outcome), SPICE (setting, perspective, intervention/exposure/interest, comparison, and evaluation), and SPIDER (expectation, client group, location, impact, professionals, service and evaluation) assist in structuring research questions for evidence-based clinical practice, qualitative research, and mixed-methods research [ 7 - 9 ]. A joint strategy of employing SPIDER and PICO is suggested for exhaustive searches, subject to time and resource constraints. PICO and SPIDER are the frequently utilized tools. The selection between them is contingent on the research’s nature. The ability to frame and address research questions is crucial in evidence-based medicine. The "PICO format" extends to the "PICOTS" (Population Intervention Comparator Outcome Time Setting) (Table  1 ) design. Explicit delineation of these components is critical for systematic reviews, ensuring a balanced and pertinent research question with broad applicability.

This table gives a breakdown of the mnemonic for the elements required to formulate an adequate research question. Utilizing this mnemonic leads to a proper and non-biased search. Examples extracted from “The use and efficacy of oral phenylephrine versus placebo on adults treating nasal congestion over the years in a systematic review” [ 10 ].

RCT, randomized control trial; PICOTS, Population Intervention Comparator Outcome Time Setting

StructureMeaningExampleInclusion criteriaExclusion criteria
PP (Population and/or Patient and/or Problem): It refers to the people in/for whom the systematic review is expected to be applied.Adults’ population >18 years and <65 years  Adults between 18 and 65 years    Elderly, pediatrics, pregnant
II (Intervention): In the context of systematic reviews examining the effects of treatment. In other words, it encompasses medicines, procedures, health education, public health measures, or bundles/combinations. It also includes preventive measures like vaccination, prophylaxis, health education tools, and packages of such interventions. In some cases, intervention is not something that the investigators administer, and the investigators are merely observing the effects. Therefore, (I) can be better expressed as ‘Exposure’ abbreviated as (E). Diagnostic tests, prognostic markers, and condition prevalence can represent exposure.  Administration of oral phenylephrine  Oral administration of phenylephrine [ ]IV administration of phenylephrine, nasal phenylephrine  
CC (Comparison): It refers to the comparison of two groups; it can be people not receiving the intervention and those receiving an alternate intervention, placebo, or nothing. However, for some study designs and/or research questions, including a comparison may not be feasible.  Placebo, standard care, or no treatment   Phenylephrine vs. placebo    Phenylephrine in combination with another medication. Phenylephrine in comparison with other medication  
OO (Outcome): This refers to the effect intervention (I) has on the selected population (P) in comparison to the comparison (C). Most systematic reviews focus on efficacy, safety, and sometimes cost. When a systematic review focuses on diagnostic tests, the aim is to identify accuracy, reliability, and cost.  Symptoms like nasal congestion and nasal airway resistance  Nasal congestion management    Other allergy-related symptoms  
TT (Time Frame): The outcomes are only relevant when it is evaluated in a specific time frame.  Over the years  Taking medication over some time  One day, one week  
SS (Study Design): A study design is a specific protocol that allows the conduction of the study, allowing the investigator to translate the conceptual hypothesis research question into an operational one.  RCTs   RCT  Letters to the editor, case-control trials, observational  

While there are various formats like SPICE and ECLIPSE, PICO continues to be favored due to its adaptability across research designs. The research question should be stated in the introduction of a systematic review, laying the groundwork for impartial interpretations. The PICOTS template is applicable to systematic reviews that tackle a variety of research questions.

Validation of the Idea

To bolster the solidity of our research, we advocate for the execution of preliminary investigations and the validation of ideas. An initial exploration, especially in esteemed databases like PubMed, is vital. This process serves several functions, including the discovery of pertinent articles, the verification of the suggested concept, the prevention of revisiting previously explored queries, and the assurance of a sufficient collection of articles for review.

Moreover, it is crucial to concentrate on topics that tackle significant healthcare challenges, align with worldwide necessities and principles, mirror the present scientific comprehension, and comply with established review methodologies. Gaining a profound comprehension of the research field through pertinent videos and discussions is crucial for enhancing result retrieval. Overlooking this step could lead to the unfortunate unearthing of a similar study published earlier, potentially leading to the termination of our research, a scenario where precious time would be squandered on an issue already thoroughly investigated.

For example, during our initial exploration using the terms “Silymarin AND Liver Enzyme Levels” on PubMed, we discovered a systematic review and meta-analysis discussing the impact of Silymarin on liver enzyme levels in humans [ 11 ]. This discovery acts as a safety net because we will not pursue this identical idea/approach and face rejection; instead, we can rephrase a more sophisticated research question or objective, shifting the focus on evaluating different aspects of the same idea by just altering a part of the PICOTS structure. We can evaluate a different population, a different comparator, and a different outcome and arrive at a completely novel idea. This strategic method guarantees the relevance and uniqueness of our research within the scientific community.

Step 2: databases

This procedure is consistently executed concurrently. A well-orchestrated and orderly team is essential for primary tasks such as literature review, screening, and risk of bias evaluation by independent reviewers. During the study inclusion phase, if disagreements arise, the involvement of a third independent reviewer often becomes vital for resolution. The team’s composition should strive to include individuals with a variety of skills.

The intricacy of the research question and the expected number of references dictate the team’s size. The final team structure is decided after the definitive search, with the participation of independent reviewers dependent on the number of hits obtained. It is crucial to maintain a balance of expertise among team members to avoid undue influence from a specific group of experts. Importantly, a team requires a competent leader who may not necessarily be the most senior member or a professor. The leader plays a central role in coordinating the project, ensuring compliance with the study protocol, keeping all team members updated, and promoting their active involvement.

Establishing solid selection criteria is the foundational step in a systematic review. These criteria act as the guiding principles during the screening process, ensuring a focused approach that conserves time, reduces errors, and maintains transparency and reproducibility, being a primary component of all systematic review protocols. Carefully designed to align with the research question, as in Table  1 , the selection criteria cover a range of study characteristics, including design, publication date, and geographical location. Importantly, they incorporate details related to the study population, exposure and outcome measures, and methodological approaches. Concurrently, researchers must develop a comprehensive search strategy to retrieve eligible studies. A well-organized strategy using various terms and Boolean operators is typically required (Figure  1 ). It involves crafting specific search queries for different online databases, such as Embase, MEDLINE, Web of Science, and Google Scholar. In these searches, we can include singulars and plurals of the terms, misspellings of the terms, and related terms, among others. However, it is crucial to strike a balance, avoiding overly extensive searches that yield unnecessary results and insufficient searches that may miss relevant evidence. In this process, collaborating with a librarian or search specialist improves the quality and reproducibility of the search. For this, it is important to understand the basic characteristics of the main databases (Table  2 ). It is important for the team to include in their methodology how they will collect the data and the tools they will use for their entire protocol so that there is a consensus about this among all of them.

Principal databases where the main articles of the whole body of the research can be gathered. This is an example of specialities and it can be used for the researchers to have a variety of databases to work.

NLM, National Library of Medicine; ICTRP, International Clinical Trials Registry Platform; LILACS, Literatura Latino-Americana e do Caribe em Ciências da Saúde

DatabasePrincipal characteristics
PubMed [ , ]A free search engine accessing primarily the MEDLINE database of references and abstracts on life sciences and biomedical topics. It is maintained by the United States NLM at the National Institutes of Health  
EMBASE [ ]A biomedical and pharmacological database containing bibliographic records with citations, abstracts, and indexing derived from biomedical articles in peer-reviewed journals. It is especially strong in its coverage of drug and pharmaceutical research.  
Cochrane [ ]A database of systematic reviews. It includes reliable evidence from Cochrane and other systematic reviews of clinical trials  
Google Scholar [ ]A freely accessible web search engine that indexes the full text or metadata of scholarly literature across an array of publishing formats and disciplines.  
Web of Science [ ]A research database used for citation analysis. It provides access to multiple databases including the Science Citation Index, the Social Sciences Citation Index, and the Arts and Humanities Citation Index.  
Science Direct  [ ]A full-text scientific database offering journal articles and book chapters from more than 2,500 peer-reviewed journals and more than 11,000 books.  
PsychINFO [ ]An electronic bibliographic database providing abstracts and citations to the scholarly literature in the psychological, social, behavioral, and health sciences.  
ICTRP [ ]ICTRP is a database of clinical trials being conducted around the world. It is maintained by the World Health Organization.  
Clinical Trials [ ]A database of privately and publicly funded clinical studies conducted around the world. It is provided by the United States NLM.  
LILACS [ ]The LILACS is an online bibliographic database of scientific and medical publications maintained by the Latin American and Caribbean Center on Health Sciences Information.  

An external file that holds a picture, illustration, etc.
Object name is cureus-0015-00000051422-i01.jpg

Boolean operators help break down and narrow down the search. "AND" will narrow your search so you get fewer results. It tells the database that your search results must include every one of your search terms. "OR" means MORE results. OR tells the database that you want results that mention one or both of your search terms. "NOT" means you are telling the database that you wish to have information related to the first term but not the second.

Image credits to authors of the articles (Created on  www.canva.com )

Documenting and registering the protocol early in the research process is crucial for transparency and avoiding duplication. The protocol serves as recorded guidance, encompassing elements like the research question, eligibility criteria, intervention details, quality assessment, and the analysis plan. Before uploading to registry sites, such as PROSPERO, it is advisable to have the protocol reviewed by the principal investigator. The comprehensive study protocol outlines research objectives, design, inclusion/exclusion criteria, electronic search strategy, and analysis plan, providing a framework for reviewers during the screening process. These are steps previously established in our process. Registration can be done on platforms like PROSPERO 5 for health and social care reviews or Cochrane 3 for interventions.

Step 3: search

In the process of conducting a systematic review, a well-organized literature search is a pivotal step. It is suggested to incorporate at least two to four online databases, such as Embase, MEDLINE, Web of Science, and Cochrane. As mentioned earlier, formulating search strategies for each database is crucial due to their distinct requirements. In line with AMSTAR (A Measurement Tool to Assess Systematic Reviews) guidelines, a minimum of two databases should be explored in systematic reviews/meta-analyses (SR/MA), but increasing this number improves the accuracy of the results [ 22 ]. We advise including databases from China as most studies exclude databases from this demographic [ 9 ]. The choice of databases, like Cochrane or ICTRP, is dependent on the review questions, especially in the case of clinical trials. These databases cater to various health-related aspects, and researchers should select based on the research subject. Additionally, it is important to consider unique search methods for each database, as some may not support the use of Boolean operators or quotations. Detailed search strategies for each database, including customization based on specific attributes, are provided for guidance. In general, systematic reviews involve searching through multiple databases and exploring additional sources, such as reference lists, clinical trial registries, and databases of non-indexed journals, to ensure a comprehensive review of both published and, in some instances, unpublished literature.

It is important to note that the extraction of information will also vary among databases. However, our goal is to obtain a RIS, BibText, CSV, bib, or txt file to import into any of the tools we will use in subsequent steps.

Step 4: tools

It is necessary to upload all our reference files into a predetermined tool like Rayyan, Covidence, EPPI, CADIMA, and DistillerSR for the collection and management of records (Table  3 ). The subsequent step entails the elimination of duplicates using a particular method. Duplicates are recognized if they have the same title and author published in the same year or if they have the same title and author published in the same journal. Tools such as Rayyan or Covidence assist in automatically identifying duplicates. The eradication of duplicate records is vital for lessening the workload during the screening of titles and abstracts.

The tools described above use artificial intelligence to help create keywords according to the inclusion and exclusion criteria defined previously by the researcher. This tool will help to reduce the amount of time to rule in or out efficiently.

ToolDescriptionKey FeaturesUsageCostDuplicate removalArticle screeningCritical appraisalAssist with reporting
Covidence [ ]Web-based software for managing systematic review projects.Streamlined screening and data extraction processes; collaboration features for team members; integration with reference management tools; real-time project tracking.Systematic reviews and evidence synthesis projects.Subscription-based, pricing varies.YesYesYesYes
Rayyan [ ]A web application designed for systematic review screening and study selection.User-friendly interface for importing, screening, and organizing studies; collaboration tools for multiple reviewers; supports a variety of file formats.Screening and study selection in systematic reviews.Free with limitations; Premium plans available.NoYesNoLimited
EPPI-Reviewer [ ]Software for managing the review process, with a focus on systematic reviews and other forms of evidence synthesis.Comprehensive data extraction and synthesis capabilities; customizable review processes; integration with reference management tools.Systematic reviews, evidence synthesis, and meta-analysis.Subscription-based, pricing varies.YesYesYesYes
CADIMA [ ]A web-based systematic review software platform.Customizable review workflow; collaboration tools for team members; integrated data extraction and synthesis features; real-time project tracking.Systematic reviews and evidence synthesis projects.Subscription-based, pricing varies.YesYesYesLimited
DistillerSR [ ]Online systematic review software for data extraction and synthesis.Streamlined data extraction and synthesis tools; collaboration features for team members; real-time progress tracking; integration with reference management tools.Systematic reviews and evidence synthesis projects.Subscription-based, pricing varies.YesYesYesYes

Step 5: title and abstract screening

The process of a systematic review encompasses several steps, which include screening titles and abstracts and applying selection criteria. During the phase of title and abstract screening, a minimum of two reviewers independently evaluate the pertinence of each reference. Tools like Rayyan, Covidence, and DistillerSR are suggested for this phase due to their effectiveness. The decisions to further assess retrieved articles are made based on the selection criteria. It is recommended to involve at least three reviewers to minimize the likelihood of errors and resolve disagreements.

In the following stages of the systematic review process, the focus is on acquiring full-text articles. Numerous search engines provide links for free access to full-text articles, and in situations where this is not feasible, alternative routes such as ResearchGate are pursued for direct requests from authors. Additionally, a manual search is carried out to decrease bias, using methods like searching references from included studies, reaching out to authors and experts, and exploring related articles in PubMed and Google Scholar. This manual search is vital for identifying reports that might have been initially overlooked. The approach involves independent reviewing by assigning specific methods to each team member, with the results gathered for comparison, discussion, and minimizing bias.

Step 6: full-text screening

The second phase in the screening process is full-text screening. This involves a thorough examination of the study reports that were selected after the title and abstract screening stage. To prevent bias, it is essential that three individuals participate in the full-text screening. Two individuals will scrutinize the entire text to ensure that the initial research question is being addressed and that none of the previously determined exclusion criteria are present in the articles. They have the option to "include" or "exclude" an article. If an article is "excluded," the reviewer must provide a justification for its exclusion. The third reviewer is responsible for resolving any disagreements, which could arise if one reviewer "excludes" an article that another reviewer "includes." The articles that are "included" will be used in the systematic review.

The process of seeking additional references following the full-text screening in a systematic review involves identifying other potentially relevant studies that were not found in the initial literature search. This can be achieved by reviewing the reference lists of the studies that were included after the full-text screening. This step is crucial as it can help uncover additional studies that are relevant to your research question but might have been overlooked in the initial database search due to variations in keywords, indexing terms, or other factors [ 15 ]. 

A PRISMA (Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses) chart, also referred to as a PRISMA flow diagram, is a visual tool that illustrates the steps involved in an SR/MA. These steps encompass the identification, screening, evaluation of eligibility, and inclusion of studies.

The PRISMA diagram provides a detailed overview of the information flow during the various stages of an SR/MA. It displays the count of records that were identified, included, and excluded, along with the reasons for any exclusions.

The typical stages represented on a PRISMA chart are as follows: 1) identification: this is where records are discovered through database searches. 2) screening: this stage involves going through the records after removing any duplicates. 3) eligibility: at this stage, full-text articles are evaluated for their suitability. 4) included: this refers to the studies that are incorporated into the qualitative and quantitative synthesis. The PRISMA chart serves as a valuable tool for researchers and readers alike, aiding in understanding the process of study selection in the review and the reasons for the exclusion of certain studies. It is usually the initial figure presented in the results section of your systematic review [ 4 ].

Step 7: data extraction

As the systematic review advances, the subsequent crucial steps involve data extraction from the studies included. This process involves a structured data extraction from the full texts included, guided by a pilot-tested Excel sheet, which aids two independent reviewers in meticulously extracting detailed information from each article [ 28 ]. This thorough process offers an initial comprehension of the common characteristics within the evidence body and sets the foundation for the following analytical and interpretive synthesis. The participation of two to three independent reviewers ensures a holistic approach, including the extraction of both adjusted and non-adjusted data to account for potential confounding factors in future analyses. Moreover, numerical data extracted, such as dichotomous or continuous data in intervention reviews or information on true and false results in diagnostic test reviews, undergoes a thorough process. The extracted data might be suitable for pooled analysis, depending on sufficiency and compatibility. Difficulties in harmonizing data formats might occur, and systematic review authors might resort to communication with study authors to resolve these issues and enhance the robustness of the synthesis. This multi-dimensional data extraction process ensures a comprehensive and nuanced understanding of the included studies, paving the way for the subsequent analysis and synthesis phases.

Step 8: risk of bias assessment

To conduct a risk of bias in medical research, it is crucial to adhere to a specific sequence: choose tools that are specifically designed for systematic reviews. These tools should have proven acceptable validity and reliability, specifically address items related to methodological quality (internal validity), and ideally be based on empirical evidence of bias [ 29 ]. These tools should be chosen once the full text is obtained. For easy organization, it can be helpful to compile a list of the retrieved articles and view the type of study because it is necessary to understand how to select and organize each one. The most common tools to evaluate the risk of bias can be found in Table  4 .

The table summarizes some of the different tools to appraise the different types of studies and their main characteristics.

ROB, risk of bias; RRB, risk of reporting bias; AMSTAR; A Measurement Tool to Assess Systematic Reviews; GRADE, Grading of Recommendations Assessment, Development and Evaluations; ROBINS, risk of bias in non-randomized studies; RCT, randomized controlled trials

ToolDescription of the appraisal studies
Cochrane RoB2 Tool [ ]Widely used in both Cochrane and other systematic reviews. It replaces the notion of assessing study quality with that of assessing the risk of bias (RoB) 2 tool, considers biases arising at different stages of a trial (randomization process, deviation from intended intervention, missing outcome data, measurement of the outcome, and selection of the report result). It assesses RCT individually and in clusters. it also asses crossover RCT and cluster RCT
AHQR RRB [ ]Evaluates the risk of reporting bias and outcome reporting bias in a systematic review
AMSTAR 2 [ ]Assess the methodological quality of systematic reviews Including both randomized and non-randomized studies of healthcare interventions. Useful in the context of real-world observational evidence
Newcastle-Ottawa Quality Assessment Scale case-control studies [ ]Evaluate case-control studies. Assess the quality of non-randomized studies. Useful in the evaluation of the methodological quality of case-control studies. It provides a semi-quantitative measure of study quality that can be used to inform the interpretation of findings in a systematic review
GRADE [ ]It is used to assess the quality of evidence and the strength of recommendations in healthcare
ROBINS [ ]Tool used to assess the risk of bias in non-randomized studies. Two types of this tool (ROBINS-I and ROBINS-E). ROBINS-I assesses the risk of bias in the results of non-randomized studies that compare the health effects of two or more interventions; it evaluates the estimates of the effectiveness or safety (benefit or harm) of an intervention from studies that did not use randomization to allocate interventions. ROBINS-E provides a structured approach to assess the risk of bias in observational epidemiological studies, designed primarily for use in the context of a systematic review. Evaluates the effects of exposure (including environmental, occupational, and behavioral exposures) on human health. Both tools share many characteristics with the RoB2 tool. They are structured into a fixed set of domains of bias (signaling questions that inform the risk of bias judgments and overall risk of bias judgments). The seven domains of bias addressed are confounding, selection of participants, classification of intervention, deviations from intended interventions, missing data, measurement of outcomes, and selection of reported results. After completing all seven bias domains, an overall judgment is made for each three of the above-mentioned considerations.  

After choosing the suitable tool for the type of study, you should know that a good risk of bias should be transparent and easily replicable. This necessitates the review protocol to include clear definitions of the biases that will be evaluated [ 30 ].

The subsequent step in determining the risk of bias is to understand the different categories of risk of bias. This will explicitly assess the risk of selection, performance, attrition, detection, and selective outcome reporting biases. It allows for separate risk of bias ratings by the outcome to account for the outcome-specific variations in detection bias and specific outcome reporting bias.

Keep in mind that assessing the risk of bias based on study design and conduct rather than reporting is very important. Poorly reported studies may be judged as unclear risk of bias. Avoid presenting the risk of bias assessment as a composite score. Finally, classifying the risk of bias as "low," "medium," or "high" is a more practical way to proceed. Methods for determining an overall categorization for the study limitations should be established a priori and documented clearly.

As a concluding statement or as a way to summarize the risk of bias, the assessment is to evaluate the internal validity of the studies included in the systematic review. This process helps to ensure that the conclusions drawn from the review are based on high-quality, reliable evidence.

Step 9: synthesis

This step can be broken down to simplify the concept of conducting a descriptive synthesis of a systematic review. 1) inclusion of studies: the final count of primary studies included in the review is established based on the screening process. 2) flowchart: the systematic review process flow is summarized in a flowchart. This includes the number of references discovered, the number of abstracts and full texts screened, and the final count of primary studies included. 3) study description: the characteristics of the included studies are detailed in a table in the main body of the manuscript. This includes the populations studied, types of exposures, intervention details, and outcomes. 4) results: if a meta-analysis is not possible, the results of the included studies are described. This includes the direction and magnitude of the effect, consistency of the effect across studies, and the strength of evidence for the effect. 5) reporting bias check: reporting bias is a systematic error that can influence the results of a systematic review. It happens when the nature and direction of the results affect the dissemination of research findings. Checking for this bias is an important part of the review process. 6) result verification: the results of the included studies should be verified for accuracy and consistency [ 36 , 37 ]. The descriptive synthesis primarily relies on words and text to summarize and explain the findings, necessitating careful planning and meticulous execution. 

Step 10: manuscript

When working on a systematic review and meta-analysis for submission, it is essential to keep the bibliographic database search current if more than six to 12 months have passed since the initial search to capture newly published articles. Guidelines like PRISMA and MOOSE provide flowcharts that visually depict the reporting process for systematic reviews and meta-analyses, promoting transparency, reproducibility, and comparability across studies [ 4 , 38 ]. The submission process requires a comprehensive PRISMA or MOOSE report with these flowcharts. Moreover, consulting with subject matter experts can improve the manuscript, and their contributions should be recognized in the final publication. A last review of the results' interpretation is suggested to further enhance the quality of the publication.

The composition process is organized into four main scientific sections: introduction, methods, results, and discussion, typically ending with a concluding section. After the manuscript, characteristics table, and PRISMA flow diagram are finalized, the team should forward the work to the principal investigator (PI) for comprehensive review and feedback. Finally, choosing an appropriate journal for the manuscript is vital, taking into account factors like impact factor and relevance to the discipline. Adherence to the author guidelines of journals is crucial before submitting the manuscript for publication.

The report emphasizes the increasing recognition of evidence-based healthcare, underscoring the integration of research evidence. The acknowledgment of the necessity for systematic reviews to consolidate and interpret extensive primary research aligns with the current emphasis on minimizing bias in evidence synthesis. The report highlights the role of systematic reviews in reducing systematic errors and enabling objective and transparent healthcare decisions. The detailed 10-step guide for conducting systematic reviews provides valuable insights for both experienced and novice researchers. The report emphasizes the importance of formulating precise research questions and suggests the use of tools for structuring questions in evidence-based clinical practice.

The validation of ideas through preliminary investigations is underscored, demonstrating a thorough approach to prevent redundancy in research efforts. The report provides a practical example of how an initial exploration of PubMed helped identify an existing systematic review, highlighting the importance of avoiding duplication. The systematic and well-coordinated team approach in the establishment of selection criteria, development of search strategies, and an organized methodology is evident. The detailed discussion on each step, such as data extraction, risk of bias assessment, and the importance of a descriptive synthesis, reflects a commitment to methodological rigor.


The systematic review process is a rigorous and methodical approach to synthesizing and evaluating existing research on a specific topic. The 10 steps we followed, from defining the research question to interpreting the results, ensured a comprehensive and unbiased review of the available literature. This process allowed us to identify key findings, recognize gaps in the current knowledge, and suggest areas for future research. Our work contributes to the evidence base in our field and can guide clinical decision-making and policy development. However, it is important to remember that systematic reviews are dependent on the quality of the original studies. Therefore, continual efforts to improve the design, reporting, and transparency of primary research are crucial.

The authors have declared that no competing interests exist.

Author Contributions

Concept and design:   Ernesto Calderon Martinez, Jennifer V. Castillo, Julio E. Morin Jimenez, Jaqueline L. Castillo, Edna Diarte

Acquisition, analysis, or interpretation of data:   Ernesto Calderon Martinez, Ronald M. Blanco Montecino , Jose R. Flores Valdés, David Arriaga Escamilla, Edna Diarte

Drafting of the manuscript:   Ernesto Calderon Martinez, Julio E. Morin Jimenez, Ronald M. Blanco Montecino , Jaqueline L. Castillo, David Arriaga Escamilla

Critical review of the manuscript for important intellectual content:   Ernesto Calderon Martinez, Jennifer V. Castillo, Jose R. Flores Valdés, Edna Diarte

Supervision:   Ernesto Calderon Martinez

Human Ethics

Consent was obtained or waived by all participants in this study

Animal Ethics

Animal subjects: All authors have confirmed that this study did not involve animal subjects or tissue.

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  • Systematic Review | Definition, Example, & Guide

Systematic Review | Definition, Example & Guide

Published on June 15, 2022 by Shaun Turney . Revised on November 20, 2023.

A systematic review is a type of review that uses repeatable methods to find, select, and synthesize all available evidence. It answers a clearly formulated research question and explicitly states the methods used to arrive at the answer.

They answered the question “What is the effectiveness of probiotics in reducing eczema symptoms and improving quality of life in patients with eczema?”

In this context, a probiotic is a health product that contains live microorganisms and is taken by mouth. Eczema is a common skin condition that causes red, itchy skin.

Table of contents

What is a systematic review, systematic review vs. meta-analysis, systematic review vs. literature review, systematic review vs. scoping review, when to conduct a systematic review, pros and cons of systematic reviews, step-by-step example of a systematic review, other interesting articles, frequently asked questions about systematic reviews.

A review is an overview of the research that’s already been completed on a topic.

What makes a systematic review different from other types of reviews is that the research methods are designed to reduce bias . The methods are repeatable, and the approach is formal and systematic:

  • Formulate a research question
  • Develop a protocol
  • Search for all relevant studies
  • Apply the selection criteria
  • Extract the data
  • Synthesize the data
  • Write and publish a report

Although multiple sets of guidelines exist, the Cochrane Handbook for Systematic Reviews is among the most widely used. It provides detailed guidelines on how to complete each step of the systematic review process.

Systematic reviews are most commonly used in medical and public health research, but they can also be found in other disciplines.

Systematic reviews typically answer their research question by synthesizing all available evidence and evaluating the quality of the evidence. Synthesizing means bringing together different information to tell a single, cohesive story. The synthesis can be narrative ( qualitative ), quantitative , or both.

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Systematic reviews often quantitatively synthesize the evidence using a meta-analysis . A meta-analysis is a statistical analysis, not a type of review.

A meta-analysis is a technique to synthesize results from multiple studies. It’s a statistical analysis that combines the results of two or more studies, usually to estimate an effect size .

A literature review is a type of review that uses a less systematic and formal approach than a systematic review. Typically, an expert in a topic will qualitatively summarize and evaluate previous work, without using a formal, explicit method.

Although literature reviews are often less time-consuming and can be insightful or helpful, they have a higher risk of bias and are less transparent than systematic reviews.

Similar to a systematic review, a scoping review is a type of review that tries to minimize bias by using transparent and repeatable methods.

However, a scoping review isn’t a type of systematic review. The most important difference is the goal: rather than answering a specific question, a scoping review explores a topic. The researcher tries to identify the main concepts, theories, and evidence, as well as gaps in the current research.

Sometimes scoping reviews are an exploratory preparation step for a systematic review, and sometimes they are a standalone project.

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systematic literature review wikipedia

A systematic review is a good choice of review if you want to answer a question about the effectiveness of an intervention , such as a medical treatment.

To conduct a systematic review, you’ll need the following:

  • A precise question , usually about the effectiveness of an intervention. The question needs to be about a topic that’s previously been studied by multiple researchers. If there’s no previous research, there’s nothing to review.
  • If you’re doing a systematic review on your own (e.g., for a research paper or thesis ), you should take appropriate measures to ensure the validity and reliability of your research.
  • Access to databases and journal archives. Often, your educational institution provides you with access.
  • Time. A professional systematic review is a time-consuming process: it will take the lead author about six months of full-time work. If you’re a student, you should narrow the scope of your systematic review and stick to a tight schedule.
  • Bibliographic, word-processing, spreadsheet, and statistical software . For example, you could use EndNote, Microsoft Word, Excel, and SPSS.

A systematic review has many pros .

  • They minimize research bias by considering all available evidence and evaluating each study for bias.
  • Their methods are transparent , so they can be scrutinized by others.
  • They’re thorough : they summarize all available evidence.
  • They can be replicated and updated by others.

Systematic reviews also have a few cons .

  • They’re time-consuming .
  • They’re narrow in scope : they only answer the precise research question.

The 7 steps for conducting a systematic review are explained with an example.

Step 1: Formulate a research question

Formulating the research question is probably the most important step of a systematic review. A clear research question will:

  • Allow you to more effectively communicate your research to other researchers and practitioners
  • Guide your decisions as you plan and conduct your systematic review

A good research question for a systematic review has four components, which you can remember with the acronym PICO :

  • Population(s) or problem(s)
  • Intervention(s)
  • Comparison(s)

You can rearrange these four components to write your research question:

  • What is the effectiveness of I versus C for O in P ?

Sometimes, you may want to include a fifth component, the type of study design . In this case, the acronym is PICOT .

  • Type of study design(s)
  • The population of patients with eczema
  • The intervention of probiotics
  • In comparison to no treatment, placebo , or non-probiotic treatment
  • The outcome of changes in participant-, parent-, and doctor-rated symptoms of eczema and quality of life
  • Randomized control trials, a type of study design

Their research question was:

  • What is the effectiveness of probiotics versus no treatment, a placebo, or a non-probiotic treatment for reducing eczema symptoms and improving quality of life in patients with eczema?

Step 2: Develop a protocol

A protocol is a document that contains your research plan for the systematic review. This is an important step because having a plan allows you to work more efficiently and reduces bias.

Your protocol should include the following components:

  • Background information : Provide the context of the research question, including why it’s important.
  • Research objective (s) : Rephrase your research question as an objective.
  • Selection criteria: State how you’ll decide which studies to include or exclude from your review.
  • Search strategy: Discuss your plan for finding studies.
  • Analysis: Explain what information you’ll collect from the studies and how you’ll synthesize the data.

If you’re a professional seeking to publish your review, it’s a good idea to bring together an advisory committee . This is a group of about six people who have experience in the topic you’re researching. They can help you make decisions about your protocol.

It’s highly recommended to register your protocol. Registering your protocol means submitting it to a database such as PROSPERO or ClinicalTrials.gov .

Step 3: Search for all relevant studies

Searching for relevant studies is the most time-consuming step of a systematic review.

To reduce bias, it’s important to search for relevant studies very thoroughly. Your strategy will depend on your field and your research question, but sources generally fall into these four categories:

  • Databases: Search multiple databases of peer-reviewed literature, such as PubMed or Scopus . Think carefully about how to phrase your search terms and include multiple synonyms of each word. Use Boolean operators if relevant.
  • Handsearching: In addition to searching the primary sources using databases, you’ll also need to search manually. One strategy is to scan relevant journals or conference proceedings. Another strategy is to scan the reference lists of relevant studies.
  • Gray literature: Gray literature includes documents produced by governments, universities, and other institutions that aren’t published by traditional publishers. Graduate student theses are an important type of gray literature, which you can search using the Networked Digital Library of Theses and Dissertations (NDLTD) . In medicine, clinical trial registries are another important type of gray literature.
  • Experts: Contact experts in the field to ask if they have unpublished studies that should be included in your review.

At this stage of your review, you won’t read the articles yet. Simply save any potentially relevant citations using bibliographic software, such as Scribbr’s APA or MLA Generator .

  • Databases: EMBASE, PsycINFO, AMED, LILACS, and ISI Web of Science
  • Handsearch: Conference proceedings and reference lists of articles
  • Gray literature: The Cochrane Library, the metaRegister of Controlled Trials, and the Ongoing Skin Trials Register
  • Experts: Authors of unpublished registered trials, pharmaceutical companies, and manufacturers of probiotics

Step 4: Apply the selection criteria

Applying the selection criteria is a three-person job. Two of you will independently read the studies and decide which to include in your review based on the selection criteria you established in your protocol . The third person’s job is to break any ties.

To increase inter-rater reliability , ensure that everyone thoroughly understands the selection criteria before you begin.

If you’re writing a systematic review as a student for an assignment, you might not have a team. In this case, you’ll have to apply the selection criteria on your own; you can mention this as a limitation in your paper’s discussion.

You should apply the selection criteria in two phases:

  • Based on the titles and abstracts : Decide whether each article potentially meets the selection criteria based on the information provided in the abstracts.
  • Based on the full texts: Download the articles that weren’t excluded during the first phase. If an article isn’t available online or through your library, you may need to contact the authors to ask for a copy. Read the articles and decide which articles meet the selection criteria.

It’s very important to keep a meticulous record of why you included or excluded each article. When the selection process is complete, you can summarize what you did using a PRISMA flow diagram .

Next, Boyle and colleagues found the full texts for each of the remaining studies. Boyle and Tang read through the articles to decide if any more studies needed to be excluded based on the selection criteria.

When Boyle and Tang disagreed about whether a study should be excluded, they discussed it with Varigos until the three researchers came to an agreement.

Step 5: Extract the data

Extracting the data means collecting information from the selected studies in a systematic way. There are two types of information you need to collect from each study:

  • Information about the study’s methods and results . The exact information will depend on your research question, but it might include the year, study design , sample size, context, research findings , and conclusions. If any data are missing, you’ll need to contact the study’s authors.
  • Your judgment of the quality of the evidence, including risk of bias .

You should collect this information using forms. You can find sample forms in The Registry of Methods and Tools for Evidence-Informed Decision Making and the Grading of Recommendations, Assessment, Development and Evaluations Working Group .

Extracting the data is also a three-person job. Two people should do this step independently, and the third person will resolve any disagreements.

They also collected data about possible sources of bias, such as how the study participants were randomized into the control and treatment groups.

Step 6: Synthesize the data

Synthesizing the data means bringing together the information you collected into a single, cohesive story. There are two main approaches to synthesizing the data:

  • Narrative ( qualitative ): Summarize the information in words. You’ll need to discuss the studies and assess their overall quality.
  • Quantitative : Use statistical methods to summarize and compare data from different studies. The most common quantitative approach is a meta-analysis , which allows you to combine results from multiple studies into a summary result.

Generally, you should use both approaches together whenever possible. If you don’t have enough data, or the data from different studies aren’t comparable, then you can take just a narrative approach. However, you should justify why a quantitative approach wasn’t possible.

Boyle and colleagues also divided the studies into subgroups, such as studies about babies, children, and adults, and analyzed the effect sizes within each group.

Step 7: Write and publish a report

The purpose of writing a systematic review article is to share the answer to your research question and explain how you arrived at this answer.

Your article should include the following sections:

  • Abstract : A summary of the review
  • Introduction : Including the rationale and objectives
  • Methods : Including the selection criteria, search method, data extraction method, and synthesis method
  • Results : Including results of the search and selection process, study characteristics, risk of bias in the studies, and synthesis results
  • Discussion : Including interpretation of the results and limitations of the review
  • Conclusion : The answer to your research question and implications for practice, policy, or research

To verify that your report includes everything it needs, you can use the PRISMA checklist .

Once your report is written, you can publish it in a systematic review database, such as the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews , and/or in a peer-reviewed journal.

In their report, Boyle and colleagues concluded that probiotics cannot be recommended for reducing eczema symptoms or improving quality of life in patients with eczema. Note Generative AI tools like ChatGPT can be useful at various stages of the writing and research process and can help you to write your systematic review. However, we strongly advise against trying to pass AI-generated text off as your own work.

If you want to know more about statistics , methodology , or research bias , make sure to check out some of our other articles with explanations and examples.

  • Student’s  t -distribution
  • Normal distribution
  • Null and Alternative Hypotheses
  • Chi square tests
  • Confidence interval
  • Quartiles & Quantiles
  • Cluster sampling
  • Stratified sampling
  • Data cleansing
  • Reproducibility vs Replicability
  • Peer review
  • Prospective cohort study

Research bias

  • Implicit bias
  • Cognitive bias
  • Placebo effect
  • Hawthorne effect
  • Hindsight bias
  • Affect heuristic
  • Social desirability bias

A literature review is a survey of scholarly sources (such as books, journal articles, and theses) related to a specific topic or research question .

It is often written as part of a thesis, dissertation , or research paper , in order to situate your work in relation to existing knowledge.

A literature review is a survey of credible sources on a topic, often used in dissertations , theses, and research papers . Literature reviews give an overview of knowledge on a subject, helping you identify relevant theories and methods, as well as gaps in existing research. Literature reviews are set up similarly to other  academic texts , with an introduction , a main body, and a conclusion .

An  annotated bibliography is a list of  source references that has a short description (called an annotation ) for each of the sources. It is often assigned as part of the research process for a  paper .  

A systematic review is secondary research because it uses existing research. You don’t collect new data yourself.

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Information & Contributors

Bibliometrics & citations, view options, 1 introduction, 2 information quality, 3 methodology.

systematic literature review wikipedia

3.1 Selection through Database Querying

3.1.1 identification..

Google Scholar \(^{(1)}\) allintitle: “wikipedia” “quality”212
ACM[Title: wikipedia] AND [Title: quality] AND [E-Publication Date: (01/01/2001 TO 01/31/2023)]71
Web of Science \(^{(1)}\) Wikipedia quality \(^{(2)}\) 96

3.1.2 Screening.

3.1.3 eligibility..

I1Paper discusses machine learning approaches to predict IQ.
I2Paper discusses possible features or metrics to assess IQ.
E1Paper does not discuss the assessment or prediction of the quality of a collaborative network. This includes studies that only discuss approaches to assess vandalism, controversy, or trust.
E2Paper discusses manual approaches to assess article quality, as opposed to automatic ones.
E3Paper is not in the English language.

3.1.4 Inclusion.

3.2 selection through citation tracking.

IDQuestionPossible Scores \(^{*}\)
Q1Does the study focus on the topic of automatic quality assessment of Wikipedia?From 0 (strongly disagree) to3 (strongly agree)
Q2Does the study describe and compare multiple ML approaches?0 ( \(MLExp = 0\) ), 1 ( \(1\le MLExp \lt 4\) ), 2 ( \(4\le MLExp \lt 7\) ), and3 ( \(MLExp\ge 7\) )
Q3Does the study describe and compare multiple article features and quality metrics?0 ( \(FT = 0\) ), 1 ( \(1\le FT \lt 15\) ),2 ( \(15\le FT \lt 50\) ), and 3 ( \(FT\ge 50\) )
Q4Does the study focus on an article language that’s not English?0 (No), 1 (Yes)

3.3 Data Collection

4 overview of included articles, 4.1 methods.

Approach# Papers 
CL + Features51[ , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ]
Deep Learning20[ , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ]
Metric-based31[ , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ]
Feat. Correlation20[ , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ]

4.1.1 Actionable Models and Visualization Tools.

4.1.2 multi-language assessment..

systematic literature review wikipedia

4.2 Year of Publication

systematic literature review wikipedia

4.3 Publication Venues

TypeVenue# Papers
ConferenceOpenSym \(^{*}\) : International Symposium on Open Collaboration14
ConferenceWWW: The Web Conference6
ConferenceBIS: International Conference on Business Information Systems6
ConferenceJCDL: ACM/IEEE Joint Conference on Digital Libraries5
JournalJournal of the Association for Information Science and Technology5
ConferenceICIST: International Conference on Information and Software Technologies4
ConferenceCIKM: International Conference on Information and Knowledge Management3
JournalProceedings of the ACM on Human–Computer Interaction3
ConferenceCLEF: Conference and Labs of the Evaluation Forum2
JournalExpert Systems with Applications2
JournalOnline Information Review2
JournalJournal of Information Processing2
ConferenceWorldCIST: World Conference on Information Systems and Technologies2
ConferenceHT: ACM Conference on Hypertext & Social Media2
ConferenceWebMedia: Brazilian Symposium on Multimedia and the Web2
ConferenceCACIC: Argentine Congress of Computer Science2
ConferenceiSAI-NLP: International Joint Symposium on Artificial Intelligence and NLP2
ConferenceWAIM: International Conference on Web-Age Information Management2
ConferenceWI: IEEE WIC ACM International Conference on Web Intelligence2

4.4 Publication Influence—References and Citations

systematic literature review wikipedia

StudyType \(^{(1)}\) Impact \(^{(2)}\)
A framework for IQ assessment [ ]FMC37.88 / 13.12 / 19.19
Size matters: word count as a measure of quality on wikipedia [ ]CL25.27 / N/A / 14.53
Cooperation and quality in wikipedia [ ]FMC24.38 / N/A / 10.12
ORES: Lowering Barriers with Participatory Machine Learning in Wikipedia [ ]CL23.33 / N/A / 7.67
Measuring article quality in Wikipedia: models and evaluation [ ]MB22.5 / N/A / 11.38
Assessing IQ of a community-based encyclopedia [ ]CL22.28 / N/A / 11.5
Who does what: Collaboration patterns in the wikipedia and their impact on article quality [ ]FMC14.33 / N/A / 8.58
Tell me more: an actionable quality model for Wikipedia [ ]CL12.6 / N/A / 8.1
NwQM: A Neural Quality Assessment Framework for Wikipedia [ ]DL12.33 / 1.0 / 1.67
Automatic quality assessment of content created collaboratively by web communities: a case study of wikipedia [ ]CL10.71 / 3.29 / 6.36
Assessing the quality of information on wikipedia: A deep-learning approach [ ]DL10.67 / 3.67 / 5.67
Assessing the quality of Wikipedia articles with lifecycle based metrics [ ]MB10.0 / N/A / 5.43
Predicting quality flaws in user-generated content: the case of wikipedia [ ]CL9.91 / 2.82 / 5.18
Who Did What: Editor Role Identification in Wikipedia [ ]FMC9.57 / N/A / 5.86
IQ discussions in wikipedia [ ]FMC9.33 / N/A / N/A

4.5 Abstract and Keyword Analysis

systematic literature review wikipedia

4.6 Authors and Affiliations

AuthorCits. / YearPublications(#)
Aaron L. Halfaker9.73[ , , , , ](5)
Benno Stein6.1[ , , , , ](5)
Quang-Vinh Dang4.76[ , , , , ](5)
Pável Calado4.37[ , , , , , ](6)
Daniel Hasan Dalip3.82[ , , , , , , ](7)
Marcos André Gonçalves3.82[ , , , , , , ](7)
Ping Wang3.63[ , , , , ](5)
Witold Abramowicz3.44[ , , , , , ](6)
Marco Cristo3.39[ , , , , , , , ](8)
Krzysztof Węcel3.12[ , , , , , , , , ](9)
Włodzimierz Lewoniewski2.88[ , , , , , , , , , , , ](12)
Yu Suzuki1.64[ , , , , , ](6)
Marcelo Errecalde1.63[ , , , , , , , , ](9)
Edgardo Ferretti1.62[ , , , , , , ](7)

4.7 Datasets, Source Code, and External Tools

systematic literature review wikipedia

Classical LearningScikit-Learn
Deep LearningKeras

5 Machine Learning Approaches

systematic literature review wikipedia

5.1 Classical Learning

StudyBest MethodMeasurePerformanceIR \(^{*}\) Lang.
Włodzimierz et al. [ ]Random ForestAUC0.901.00Multiple
Vittoria et al. [ ]Random ForestAUC0.8995.06English
Schmidt and Zangerle [ ]Gradient Boosted TreesAccuracy73.00%1.10English
Dang and Ignat [ ]Random ForestAccuracy64.00%1.77English
Halfaker [ ]ORES (Gradient Boosting)Accuracy62.90%1.12English
Halfaker and Geiger [ ]Gradient BoostingAccuracy62.90%1.10Multiple
Narun et al. [ ]MLRAccuracy49.35%1.00English
StudyBest MethodMeasurePerformanceIR \(^{*}\) Lang.
Saengthongpattana and Soonthornphisaj [ ]Naive BayesAUC0.99236.00Thai
Blumenstock [ ]MLPAccuracy97.15%6.12English
Ofek and Rokach [ ]Bayes NetworkAUC0.971.00English
Sugandhika and Ahangama [ ]Logistic RegressionAccuracy96.00%1.00English
Adnan et al. [ ]Random ForestAccuracy95.50%1.01Arabic
Kui et al. [ ]C4.5 Decision TreeAccuracy94.60%3.00Chinese
Maik et al. [ ]Random ForestAUC0.941.00English
Besiki et al. [ ]C4.5 Decision TreeF1-score0.943.51English
Lipka and Stein [ ]SVMAccuracy94.00%1.00English
Lian et al. [ ]SVMF1-score0.941.00English

5.2 Deep Learning

StudyBest MethodMeasurePerformanceIR \(^{*}\) Lang.
Jingrui et al. [ ]Stacked LearningAccuracy75.46%?English
Shiyue et al. [ ]RNN + LSTMAccuracy68.60%1.16English
Aili et al. [ ]Bi-LSTM+Accuracy68.17%1.00English
Dang and Ignat [ ]RNN + LSTMAccuracy68.00%1.01Multiple
Edison et al. [ ]Bi-LSTMAccuracy66.56%?Multiple
Bhanu et al. [ ]BERT + GRUAccuracy63.23%1.64English
Aili et al. [ ]BiLSTMAccuracy62.50%1.02English
Aili et al. [ ]BiLSTMAccuracy59.40%?English
Dang and Ignat [ ]DNNAccuracy55.00%?English
Dang and Ignat [ ]DNNAccuracy55.00%?English
StudyBest MethodMeasurePerformanceIR \(^{*}\) Lang.
Muyan et al. [ ]BERT + GRUAccuracy97.58%1.00Multiple
Wang and Li [ ]Stacked LSTMAccuracy79.81%?English
Sumit et al. [ ]RNNF1-score0.691.00English

6 Article Features and Quality Metrics

6.1 article features.

systematic literature review wikipedia

6.1.1 Content Features.

NameActionableMultilingual# Papers
Character Count (Article Length)YesAll61
Internal Link CountYesAll44
Image CountYesAll42
External Link CountYesAll35
Word CountYesAll32
Section CountYesAll32
Reference CountYesAll32
Subsection CountYesAll24
Sentence CountYesAll22
Category CountYesAll21
Citation CountYesAll17
Information Noise Score (InfoNoise) (multiple definitions)YesAll16
Longest Sentence Length (Words)YesAll14
Has InfoBoxYesAll14
Subsection Count per Section (section nesting)YesAll13
Mean Sentence Length (Words)YesAll12
Paragraph CountYesAll12
Image Count per CharacterYesAll12
Image Count per SectionYesAll12
Heading CountYesAll12
Mean Paragraph Length in WordsYesAll11
Reference Count per CharacterYesAll11
Introduction Length (Lead section; abstract)YesAll10
Mean Section Length in WordsYesAll9
Citation Count per SectionYesAll9
Table CountYesAll9
Mean Word LengthYesAll8
Section Length Stdev.YesAll8
Citation Count per CharacterYesAll8

6.1.2 Style Features.

NameActionableMultilingual# Papers
Short Sentence Rate (multiple definitions)YesMost14
Long Sentence Rate (multiple definitions)YesMost13
Passive Voice Sentence CountYesMost10
Question CountYesMost9
Auxiliary verb countYesMost9
Number of sentences starting with a pronounYesMost8
To be Verb Count per WordYesMost8
Coordinate Conjunction Count per WordYesMost8
Number of sentences starting with an articleYesMost7
Number of sentences starting with a coordinate conjunctionYesMost7
Number of sentences starting with a subordinate preposition or conjunctionYesMost7
Pronoun CountYesMost7
Preposition Count per WordYesMost7
Character/PoS N-gramsYesSome7
Syllable CountYesMost6
Number of sentences starting with an interrogative pronounYesMost6
Nominalization Count per WordYesMost6
Number of sentences starting with a prepositionYesMost5
To be Verb CountYesMost5
Long Words Rate (multiple definitions)YesMost4
Question Count per SentenceYesMost4
Passive Voice Sentence Count per SentenceYesMost4
Syllable Count per WordYesMost4
One-Syllable Word CountYesMost4
Number of sentences starting with a pronoun per SentenceYesMost4
Number of sentences starting with an article per SentenceYesMost4

6.1.3 Readability Features.

NameActionableMultilingual# Papers
Flesch reading easeYesSome24
Automated Readability IndexYesSome23
Gunning Fog IndexYesSome19
Lasbarhets Index (LIX)YesSome13
Linsear Write FormulaYesSome6
Difficult Word ScoreYesSome5
Bormuth Readability IndexYesSome4
Miyazaki Readability ScoreYesSome4
FORCAST Readability FormulaYesSome3
Wiener SachtextformelYesSome1

6.1.4 History Features.

NameActionableMultilingual# Papers
Revision CountNoAll39
Contributor CountNoAll39
Article Age (days)NoAll34
Discussion CountNoAll18
Anonymous Contributor CountNoAll15
Revisions per ContributorNoAll13
Revisions per DayNoAll12
Registered Contributor CountNoAll12
Registered Revision CountNoAll12
Anonymous Revision CountNoAll10
Current Revision Age (days) (currency)NoAll9
Revisions per Contributor Stdev.NoAll9
Recent Revision Count per RevisionNoAll9
Occasional Revision Count per RevisionNoAll8
Article Age per RevisionNoAll7

6.1.5 Network Features.

NameActionableMultilingual# Papers
Incoming Internal Link CountNoAll16
Local Clustering CoefficientNoAll14
# of Versions in other LanguagesYesAll14
Reciprocity within NeighborsNoAll12
Assortativity (in-in, in-out, out-in, out-out)NoAll9
Number of Articles with Common Editors (Connectivity)NoAll4
Betweenness CentralityNoAll3
Neighbor CountYesAll2
Average Path LengthNoAll2
K-Core NumberNoAll2
HITS (Hyperlink-Induced Topic Selection)NoAll2

6.1.6 Popularity Features.

NameActionableMultilingual# Papers
Number of Page VisitsNoAll3
Number of Page WatchersNoAll3
Number of Page Visits per DayNoAll1
Number of Page ViewersNoAll1
Number of Shares in Social MediaNoAll1

6.1.7 Summary.


systematic literature review wikipedia

6.2 Quality Metrics

6.2.1 stvilia’s iq metrics., 6.2.2 text survival., 7 discussion, 7.1 rq1. what are the most commonly used methods for the automatic quality assessment of wikipedia articles, 7.2 rq2. how can machine learning be best applied to predict article quality, and how do different approaches compare, 7.3 rq3. what are the most common article features and quality metrics used to evaluate article quality in wikipedia how do these features compare, and how do they affect the performance of automatic assessment methods, 7.4 rq4. which common themes and gaps are there in the literature concerning this topic, and how can existing studies be improved to increase the adoption of automatic methods for the quality assessment of wikipedia.

systematic literature review wikipedia

8 Conclusions and Future Work

Index terms.

Applied computing

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Computing methodologies

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Assessing the quality of wikipedia articles.

Wikipedia is a very important information reference source for the Internet users. Due to the fact that the content of Wikipedia is the collaborative result from a massive number of participants all over the world, the quality of Wikipedia might be ...

Mutual evaluation of editors and texts for assessing quality of Wikipedia articles

In this paper, we propose a method to identify good quality Wikipedia articles by mutually evaluating editors and texts. A major approach for assessing article quality is a text survival ratio based approach. In this approach, when a text survives beyond ...

Indicator of quality for environmental articles on Wikipedia at the higher education level

Wikipedia is important in higher education because students and scholars often use it. Nevertheless, the issue of Wikipedia’s quality is an obstacle for its use at the higher education level. In order to contribute to this discussion, we have proposed ‘...


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How to write a systematic literature review [9 steps]

Systematic literature review

What is a systematic literature review?

Where are systematic literature reviews used, what types of systematic literature reviews are there, how to write a systematic literature review, 1. decide on your team, 2. formulate your question, 3. plan your research protocol, 4. search for the literature, 5. screen the literature, 6. assess the quality of the studies, 7. extract the data, 8. analyze the results, 9. interpret and present the results, registering your systematic literature review, frequently asked questions about writing a systematic literature review, related articles.

A systematic literature review is a summary, analysis, and evaluation of all the existing research on a well-formulated and specific question.

Put simply, a systematic review is a study of studies that is popular in medical and healthcare research. In this guide, we will cover:

  • the definition of a systematic literature review
  • the purpose of a systematic literature review
  • the different types of systematic reviews
  • how to write a systematic literature review

➡️ Visit our guide to the best research databases for medicine and health to find resources for your systematic review.

Systematic literature reviews can be utilized in various contexts, but they’re often relied on in clinical or healthcare settings.

Medical professionals read systematic literature reviews to stay up-to-date in their field, and granting agencies sometimes need them to make sure there’s justification for further research in an area. They can even be used as the starting point for developing clinical practice guidelines.

A classic systematic literature review can take different approaches:

  • Effectiveness reviews assess the extent to which a medical intervention or therapy achieves its intended effect. They’re the most common type of systematic literature review.
  • Diagnostic test accuracy reviews produce a summary of diagnostic test performance so that their accuracy can be determined before use by healthcare professionals.
  • Experiential (qualitative) reviews analyze human experiences in a cultural or social context. They can be used to assess the effectiveness of an intervention from a person-centric perspective.
  • Costs/economics evaluation reviews look at the cost implications of an intervention or procedure, to assess the resources needed to implement it.
  • Etiology/risk reviews usually try to determine to what degree a relationship exists between an exposure and a health outcome. This can be used to better inform healthcare planning and resource allocation.
  • Psychometric reviews assess the quality of health measurement tools so that the best instrument can be selected for use.
  • Prevalence/incidence reviews measure both the proportion of a population who have a disease, and how often the disease occurs.
  • Prognostic reviews examine the course of a disease and its potential outcomes.
  • Expert opinion/policy reviews are based around expert narrative or policy. They’re often used to complement, or in the absence of, quantitative data.
  • Methodology systematic reviews can be carried out to analyze any methodological issues in the design, conduct, or review of research studies.

Writing a systematic literature review can feel like an overwhelming undertaking. After all, they can often take 6 to 18 months to complete. Below we’ve prepared a step-by-step guide on how to write a systematic literature review.

  • Decide on your team.
  • Formulate your question.
  • Plan your research protocol.
  • Search for the literature.
  • Screen the literature.
  • Assess the quality of the studies.
  • Extract the data.
  • Analyze the results.
  • Interpret and present the results.

When carrying out a systematic literature review, you should employ multiple reviewers in order to minimize bias and strengthen analysis. A minimum of two is a good rule of thumb, with a third to serve as a tiebreaker if needed.

You may also need to team up with a librarian to help with the search, literature screeners, a statistician to analyze the data, and the relevant subject experts.

Define your answerable question. Then ask yourself, “has someone written a systematic literature review on my question already?” If so, yours may not be needed. A librarian can help you answer this.

You should formulate a “well-built clinical question.” This is the process of generating a good search question. To do this, run through PICO:

  • Patient or Population or Problem/Disease : who or what is the question about? Are there factors about them (e.g. age, race) that could be relevant to the question you’re trying to answer?
  • Intervention : which main intervention or treatment are you considering for assessment?
  • Comparison(s) or Control : is there an alternative intervention or treatment you’re considering? Your systematic literature review doesn’t have to contain a comparison, but you’ll want to stipulate at this stage, either way.
  • Outcome(s) : what are you trying to measure or achieve? What’s the wider goal for the work you’ll be doing?

Now you need a detailed strategy for how you’re going to search for and evaluate the studies relating to your question.

The protocol for your systematic literature review should include:

  • the objectives of your project
  • the specific methods and processes that you’ll use
  • the eligibility criteria of the individual studies
  • how you plan to extract data from individual studies
  • which analyses you’re going to carry out

For a full guide on how to systematically develop your protocol, take a look at the PRISMA checklist . PRISMA has been designed primarily to improve the reporting of systematic literature reviews and meta-analyses.

When writing a systematic literature review, your goal is to find all of the relevant studies relating to your question, so you need to search thoroughly .

This is where your librarian will come in handy again. They should be able to help you formulate a detailed search strategy, and point you to all of the best databases for your topic.

➡️ Read more on on how to efficiently search research databases .

The places to consider in your search are electronic scientific databases (the most popular are PubMed , MEDLINE , and Embase ), controlled clinical trial registers, non-English literature, raw data from published trials, references listed in primary sources, and unpublished sources known to experts in the field.

➡️ Take a look at our list of the top academic research databases .

Tip: Don’t miss out on “gray literature.” You’ll improve the reliability of your findings by including it.

Don’t miss out on “gray literature” sources: those sources outside of the usual academic publishing environment. They include:

  • non-peer-reviewed journals
  • pharmaceutical industry files
  • conference proceedings
  • pharmaceutical company websites
  • internal reports

Gray literature sources are more likely to contain negative conclusions, so you’ll improve the reliability of your findings by including it. You should document details such as:

  • The databases you search and which years they cover
  • The dates you first run the searches, and when they’re updated
  • Which strategies you use, including search terms
  • The numbers of results obtained

➡️ Read more about gray literature .

This should be performed by your two reviewers, using the criteria documented in your research protocol. The screening is done in two phases:

  • Pre-screening of all titles and abstracts, and selecting those appropriate
  • Screening of the full-text articles of the selected studies

Make sure reviewers keep a log of which studies they exclude, with reasons why.

➡️ Visit our guide on what is an abstract?

Your reviewers should evaluate the methodological quality of your chosen full-text articles. Make an assessment checklist that closely aligns with your research protocol, including a consistent scoring system, calculations of the quality of each study, and sensitivity analysis.

The kinds of questions you'll come up with are:

  • Were the participants really randomly allocated to their groups?
  • Were the groups similar in terms of prognostic factors?
  • Could the conclusions of the study have been influenced by bias?

Every step of the data extraction must be documented for transparency and replicability. Create a data extraction form and set your reviewers to work extracting data from the qualified studies.

Here’s a free detailed template for recording data extraction, from Dalhousie University. It should be adapted to your specific question.

Establish a standard measure of outcome which can be applied to each study on the basis of its effect size.

Measures of outcome for studies with:

  • Binary outcomes (e.g. cured/not cured) are odds ratio and risk ratio
  • Continuous outcomes (e.g. blood pressure) are means, difference in means, and standardized difference in means
  • Survival or time-to-event data are hazard ratios

Design a table and populate it with your data results. Draw this out into a forest plot , which provides a simple visual representation of variation between the studies.

Then analyze the data for issues. These can include heterogeneity, which is when studies’ lines within the forest plot don’t overlap with any other studies. Again, record any excluded studies here for reference.

Consider different factors when interpreting your results. These include limitations, strength of evidence, biases, applicability, economic effects, and implications for future practice or research.

Apply appropriate grading of your evidence and consider the strength of your recommendations.

It’s best to formulate a detailed plan for how you’ll present your systematic review results. Take a look at these guidelines for interpreting results from the Cochrane Institute.

Before writing your systematic literature review, you can register it with OSF for additional guidance along the way. You could also register your completed work with PROSPERO .

Systematic literature reviews are often found in clinical or healthcare settings. Medical professionals read systematic literature reviews to stay up-to-date in their field and granting agencies sometimes need them to make sure there’s justification for further research in an area.

The first stage in carrying out a systematic literature review is to put together your team. You should employ multiple reviewers in order to minimize bias and strengthen analysis. A minimum of two is a good rule of thumb, with a third to serve as a tiebreaker if needed.

Your systematic review should include the following details:

A literature review simply provides a summary of the literature available on a topic. A systematic review, on the other hand, is more than just a summary. It also includes an analysis and evaluation of existing research. Put simply, it's a study of studies.

The final stage of conducting a systematic literature review is interpreting and presenting the results. It’s best to formulate a detailed plan for how you’ll present your systematic review results, guidelines can be found for example from the Cochrane institute .

systematic literature review wikipedia

Introduction to Systematic Reviews

In this guide.

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What is a Systematic Review?

Knowledge synthesis is a term used to describe the method of synthesizing results from individual studies and interpreting these results within the larger body of knowledge on the topic. It requires highly structured, transparent and reproducible methods using quantitative and/or qualitative evidence. Systematic reviews, meta-analyses, scoping reviews, rapid reviews, narrative syntheses, practice guidelines, among others, are all forms of knowledge syntheses. For more information on types of reviews, visit the "Types of Reviews" tab on the left.

A systematic review varies from an ordinary literature review in that it uses a comprehensive, methodical, transparent and reproducible search strategy to ensure conclusions are as unbiased and closer to the truth as possible. The Cochrane Handbook for Systematic Reviews of Interventions  defines a systematic review as:

"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 [...] This involves: the a priori specification of a research question; clarity on the scope of the review and which studies are eligible for inclusion; making every effort to find all relevant research and to ensure that issues of bias in included studies are accounted for; and analysing the included studies in order to draw conclusions based on all the identified research in an impartial and objective way." ( Chapter 1: Starting a review )

What are systematic reviews? from Cochrane on Youtube .

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Systematic Literature Reviews: Home

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A  systematic review , or  systematic literature review , is a type of literature review that uses systematic methods to collect secondary data, critically appraise research studies, and synthesize findings qualitatively or quantitatively. Systematic reviews formulate research questions that are broad or narrow in scope, and identify and synthesize studies that directly relate to the systematic review question. They are designed to provide a complete, exhaustive summary of current evidence, published and unpublished, that is "methodical, comprehensive, transparent, and replicable."

An understanding of systematic reviews and how to implement them in practice is highly recommended for professionals involved in the delivery of health care, public health, and public policy. Systematic reviews of randomized controlled trials are key to the practice of evidence-based medicine ,  and a review of existing studies is often quicker and cheaper than embarking on a new study. Contrastingly, systematic reviews of observational studies rank lower in the evidence-based hierarchy. However, another important factor that impacts the quality of the evidence is the accuracy of the methodological design and execution of the systematic review carried out by the authors.

While systematic reviews are often applied in the biomedical or healthcare context, they can be used in other areas where an assessment of a precisely defined subject would be helpful. For example, systematic reviews are becoming increasingly common in management, accounting and finance .  Systematic reviews may examine clinical tests, public health interventions, environmental interventions, social interventions, adverse effects and economic evaluations.

'Systematic review' (2020) Wikipedia.  Available at: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Systematic_review (Accessed: 20 October 2020). 

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The Library staff are available to assist with your systematic reviews: we can advise on the best databases to use for your particular topic, we provide guidance on searching techniques, we can show you how to set up search alerts so that you keep up to date with the latest research in your field, and we provide assistance in the use of reference management tools. The staff to contact are:

Science & Pharmacy Principal Faculty Services Librarian: Thandiwe Menze Email:  [email protected]

Commerce & Law Principal Faculty Services Librarian: Jill Otto Email:  [email protected]

Principal Librarian: Faculty Liaison Services (Science & Pharmacy)

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Systematic Reviews in the Social Sciences

What is a systematic review, difference between a systematic review and a literature review.

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"A systematic review attempts to collate all empirical evidence that fits pre-specified eligibility criteria in order to answer a specific research question.  It  uses explicit, systematic methods that are selected with a view to minimizing bias, thus providing more reliable findings from which conclusions can be drawn and decisions made   (Antman 1992, Oxman 1993) . The key characteristics of a systematic review are:

a clearly stated set of objectives with pre-defined eligibility criteria for studies;

an explicit, reproducible methodology;

a systematic search that attempts to identify all studies that would meet the eligibility criteria;

an assessment of the validity of the findings of the included studies, for example through the assessment of risk of bias; and

a systematic presentation, and synthesis, of the characteristics and findings of the included studies".

Cochrane Handbook for Systematic Reviews of Interventions . (March 2011)

(Original author, Meredith Kirkpatrick, 2021)

Kysh, Lynn (2013): Difference between a systematic review and a literature review . Figshare.https://doi.org/10.6084/m9.figshare.766364.v1  

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An overview of systematic review

  • PMID: 25458624
  • DOI: 10.1016/j.jopan.2014.07.002

Systematic review is an invaluable tool for the practicing clinician. A well-designed systematic review represents the latest and most complete information available on a particular topic or intervention. This article highlights the key elements of systematic review, what it is and is not, and provides an overview of several reputable organizations supporting the methodological development and conduct of systematic review. Important aspects for evaluating the quality of a systematic review are also included.

Keywords: systematic review.

Copyright © 2014 American Society of PeriAnesthesia Nurses. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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  • The value of systematic review: guest editorial. Baker KA. Baker KA. J Perianesth Nurs. 2014 Dec;29(6):453. doi: 10.1016/j.jopan.2014.10.002. Epub 2014 Nov 20. J Perianesth Nurs. 2014. PMID: 25458623 No abstract available.

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Systematic Literature Review or Literature Review?

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Table of Contents

As a researcher, you may be required to conduct a literature review. But what kind of review do you need to complete? Is it a systematic literature review or a standard literature review? In this article, we’ll outline the purpose of a systematic literature review, the difference between literature review and systematic review, and other important aspects of systematic literature reviews.

What is a Systematic Literature Review?

The purpose of systematic literature reviews is simple. Essentially, it is to provide a high-level of a particular research question. This question, in and of itself, is highly focused to match the review of the literature related to the topic at hand. For example, a focused question related to medical or clinical outcomes.

The components of a systematic literature review are quite different from the standard literature review research theses that most of us are used to (more on this below). And because of the specificity of the research question, typically a systematic literature review involves more than one primary author. There’s more work related to a systematic literature review, so it makes sense to divide the work among two or three (or even more) researchers.

Your systematic literature review will follow very clear and defined protocols that are decided on prior to any review. This involves extensive planning, and a deliberately designed search strategy that is in tune with the specific research question. Every aspect of a systematic literature review, including the research protocols, which databases are used, and dates of each search, must be transparent so that other researchers can be assured that the systematic literature review is comprehensive and focused.

Most systematic literature reviews originated in the world of medicine science. Now, they also include any evidence-based research questions. In addition to the focus and transparency of these types of reviews, additional aspects of a quality systematic literature review includes:

  • Clear and concise review and summary
  • Comprehensive coverage of the topic
  • Accessibility and equality of the research reviewed

Systematic Review vs Literature Review

The difference between literature review and systematic review comes back to the initial research question. Whereas the systematic review is very specific and focused, the standard literature review is much more general. The components of a literature review, for example, are similar to any other research paper. That is, it includes an introduction, description of the methods used, a discussion and conclusion, as well as a reference list or bibliography.

A systematic review, however, includes entirely different components that reflect the specificity of its research question, and the requirement for transparency and inclusion. For instance, the systematic review will include:

  • Eligibility criteria for included research
  • A description of the systematic research search strategy
  • An assessment of the validity of reviewed research
  • Interpretations of the results of research included in the review

As you can see, contrary to the general overview or summary of a topic, the systematic literature review includes much more detail and work to compile than a standard literature review. Indeed, it can take years to conduct and write a systematic literature review. But the information that practitioners and other researchers can glean from a systematic literature review is, by its very nature, exceptionally valuable.

This is not to diminish the value of the standard literature review. The importance of literature reviews in research writing is discussed in this article . It’s just that the two types of research reviews answer different questions, and, therefore, have different purposes and roles in the world of research and evidence-based writing.

Systematic Literature Review vs Meta Analysis

It would be understandable to think that a systematic literature review is similar to a meta analysis. But, whereas a systematic review can include several research studies to answer a specific question, typically a meta analysis includes a comparison of different studies to suss out any inconsistencies or discrepancies. For more about this topic, check out Systematic Review VS Meta-Analysis article.

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  • Literature review
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A literature review is a synthesis of past academic discussion and research findings.

Primary and secondary research

Literature reviews can be considered secondary research, which may then lead on to original research (primary research). Sometimes the boundary between primary and secondary research is not clear (e.g., a critical review of previously published ideas and data can lead to the discovery of new ideas).

Literature reviews can be [1] :

  • Scoping (Munn et al., 2018)
  • Traditional or narrative
  • Systematic (Munn et al., 2018)
  • Meta-analytic
  • Meta-synthesis
  • Formulating literature reviews (UC-Pharmacy-Research Wikiversity)
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  2. Literature Review Vs Systematic Review

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  1. Systematic review

    A systematic review is a scholarly synthesis of the evidence on a clearly presented topic using critical methods to identify, define and assess research on the topic. A systematic review extracts and interprets data from published studies on the topic (in the scientific literature), then analyzes, describes, critically appraises and summarizes interpretations into a refined evidence-based ...

  2. Systematic literature review

    Language links are at the top of the page across from the title.

  3. Literature review

    Types. Since the concept of a systematic review was formalized (codified) in the 1970s, a basic division among types of reviews is the dichotomy of narrative reviews versus systematic reviews. The term literature review without further specification still refers (even now, by convention) to a narrative review.. The main types of narrative reviews are evaluative, exploratory, and instrumental.

  4. What is a Systematic Review

    A systematic review is a comprehensive literature search, appraisal, and synthesis project that aims to answer a well-defined, specific, research question using existing primary research. ... Protocols of systematic reviews and meta-analyses allow researchers to plan and document their review methods and they help minimize arbitrary decision ...

  5. How-to conduct a systematic literature review: A quick guide for

    Abstract. Performing a literature review is a critical first step in research to understanding the state-of-the-art and identifying gaps and challenges in the field. A systematic literature review is a method which sets out a series of steps to methodically organize the review. In this paper, we present a guide designed for researchers and in ...

  6. PDF What are Systematic Reviews?

    A systematic review can be designed to provide an ex-haustive summary of current literature relevant to a re-search question. A systematic review uses a rigorous and transparent ap-proach for research synthesis, with the aim of assessing and, where possible, minimizing bias in the findings. While many systematic reviews are based on an explicit

  7. Ten Steps to Conduct a Systematic Review

    Registration can be done on platforms like PROSPERO 5 for health and social care reviews or Cochrane 3 for interventions. Step 3: search. In the process of conducting a systematic review, a well-organized literature search is a pivotal step.

  8. Guidance on Conducting a Systematic Literature Review

    Literature reviews establish the foundation of academic inquires. However, in the planning field, we lack rigorous systematic reviews. In this article, through a systematic search on the methodology of literature review, we categorize a typology of literature reviews, discuss steps in conducting a systematic literature review, and provide suggestions on how to enhance rigor in literature ...

  9. Systematic Review

    A systematic review is a type of review that uses repeatable methods to find, select, and synthesize all available evidence. It answers a clearly formulated research question and explicitly states the methods used to arrive at the answer. Example: Systematic review. In 2008, Dr. Robert Boyle and his colleagues published a systematic review in ...

  10. Automatic Quality Assessment of Wikipedia Articles—A Systematic

    We believe it would be beneficial to dive deeper into the subject of automatic assessment of Wikipedia quality, so we conducted a systematic literature review to assess the state of the art within that topic, examining and comparing existing approaches used to automatically measure article quality.

  11. How to write a systematic literature review [9 steps]

    Screen the literature. Assess the quality of the studies. Extract the data. Analyze the results. Interpret and present the results. 1. Decide on your team. When carrying out a systematic literature review, you should employ multiple reviewers in order to minimize bias and strengthen analysis.

  12. Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses

    The PRISMA flow diagram, depicting the flow of information through the different phases of a systematic review. PRISMA (Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses) is an evidence-based minimum set of items aimed at helping scientific authors to report a wide array of systematic reviews and meta-analyses, primarily used to assess the benefits and harms of a health care ...

  13. Introduction

    Systematic reviews, meta-analyses, scoping reviews, rapid reviews, narrative syntheses, practice guidelines, among others, are all forms of knowledge syntheses. For more information on types of reviews, visit the "Types of Reviews" tab on the left. A systematic review varies from an ordinary literature review in that it uses a comprehensive ...

  14. LibGuides: Systematic Literature Reviews: Home

    A systematic review, or systematic literature review, is a type of literature review that uses systematic methods to collect secondary data, critically appraise research studies, and synthesize findings qualitatively or quantitatively.Systematic reviews formulate research questions that are broad or narrow in scope, and identify and synthesize studies that directly relate to the systematic ...

  15. PDF Systematic Literature Reviews: an Introduction

    Systematic literature reviews (SRs) are a way of synthesising scientific evidence to answer a particular research question in a way that is transparent and reproducible, while seeking to include all published evidence on the topic and appraising the quality of th is evidence. SRs have become a major methodology

  16. What is a Systematic Review?

    "A systematic review attempts to collate all empirical evidence that fits pre-specified eligibility criteria in order to answer a specific research question. It uses explicit, systematic methods that are selected with a view to minimizing bias, thus providing more reliable findings from which conclusions can be drawn and decisions made (Antman ...

  17. How-to conduct a systematic literature review: A quick guide for

    Method details Overview. A Systematic Literature Review (SLR) is a research methodology to collect, identify, and critically analyze the available research studies (e.g., articles, conference proceedings, books, dissertations) through a systematic procedure [12].An SLR updates the reader with current literature about a subject [6].The goal is to review critical points of current knowledge on a ...

  18. An overview of systematic review

    Abstract. Systematic review is an invaluable tool for the practicing clinician. A well-designed systematic review represents the latest and most complete information available on a particular topic or intervention. This article highlights the key elements of systematic review, what it is and is not, and provides an overview of several reputable ...

  19. WikiJournal of Medicine / What are Systematic Reviews?

    Analyse and combine the data. Systematic reviews are a type of review that uses repeatable analytical methods to collect secondary data and analyse it. Systematic reviews are a type of evidence synthesis which formulate research questions that are broad or narrow in scope, and identify and synthesize data that directly relate to the systematic ...

  20. Systematic Literature Review or Literature Review

    The difference between literature review and systematic review comes back to the initial research question. Whereas the systematic review is very specific and focused, the standard literature review is much more general. The components of a literature review, for example, are similar to any other research paper.

  21. Umbrella review

    Umbrella review. In medical research, an umbrella review is a review of systematic reviews or meta-analyses. [1] [2] [3] They may also be called overviews of reviews, reviews of reviews, summaries of systematic reviews, or syntheses of reviews. [1] Umbrella reviews are among the highest levels of evidence currently available in medicine.

  22. Literature review

    Literature review (Wikipedia) Literature review (UC-Pharmacy-Research Wikiversity) References [edit | edit source] Munn, Z., Peters, M.D.J., Stern, C. et al. (2018). Systematic review or scoping review? Guidance for authors when choosing between a systematic or scoping review approach. BMC Med Res Methodol 18(143).

  23. Tertiary review

    Tertiary review. In software engineering, a tertiary review is a systematic review of systematic reviews. [1] It is also referred to as a tertiary study in the software engineering literature. However, Umbrella review is the term more commonly used in medicine. Kitchenham et al. [1] suggest that methodologically there is no difference between a ...