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Systematic Reviews

Information on how to conduct systematic reviews in the health sciences.

What Is a Systematic Review?

A systematic review is a comprehensive literature search and synthesis project that tries to answer a well-defined question using existing primary research as evidence. A protocol is used to plan the systematic review methods prior to the project, including what is and is not included in the search.

Systematic reviews are often used as the foundation for a meta analysis (a statistical process that combines the findings from individual studies) and to re-evaluate clinical guidelines.

Systematic review and meta analysis are both types of evidence synthesis methods. Read more about evidence synthesis on the Should You Do a Systematic Review and Types of Reviews pages of this guide.


Advanced Literature Searching in the Health Sciences MOOC (Massive Open Online Course)

  • Covers Fundamental components of advanced literature searching for projects such as systematic reviews, scoping reviews, and clinical practice guidelines
  • 9 weeks of content with approximately 2-4 hours of effort per week
  • Free with verified certificate available for a fee
  • Designed by Informationists at the University of Michigan Taubman Health Sciences Library

Introduction to Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis MOOC

  • Introduces methods and processes for systematic reviews and meta-analyses
  • 6 weeks of content with approximately 1-3 hours of effort per week
  • Free with certificate available for a fee
  • Offered by Johns Hopkins University