Skip to Main Content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

Systematic Reviews

Systematic Review: Definition and Elements

A systematic review is a comprehensive literature search that tries to answer a focused research question using existing research as evidence. 
Elements of a Systematic Review:
  1. Research team: including two independent screeners, a tie-breaker, librarian, and statistician
  2. Focused research question, including a measurable outcome
  3. Written and registered protocol: PROSPERO
  4. Inclusion/exclusion criteria
  5. Comprehensive literature searches of multiple databases: performed by librarian
  6. Screening and study selection: two independent screeners, conflicts resolved by third reviewer
  7. Quality assessment: transparent assessment using validated tools
  8. Reporting guidelines: following PRISMA checklist
  9. Time: systematic reviews can take at least 12 months to complete

Types of Reviews

Although systematic reviews may be the best known review type, there are a variety of different types of literature reviews that vary in terms of scope, comprehensiveness, time constraints, and types of studies included.