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Systematic Reviews

What is a Systematic Review?

A systematic review is an evidence synthesis that uses explicit, reproducible methods to perform a comprehensive literature search and critical appraisal of individual studies and that uses appropriate statistical techniques to combine these valid studies.

Key Characteristics of a Systematic Review:

Generally, systematic reviews must have:

  • 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 the risk of bias
  • a systematic presentation, and synthesis, of the characteristics and findings of the included studies.

A meta-analysis is a systematic review that uses quantitative methods to synthesize and summarize the pooled data from included studies.

Additional Information