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Thomas Jefferson UniversityScott Memorial Library

Systematic Reviews  

Resources for planning and conducting a Systematic Review of the literature.
Last Updated: Jan 7, 2015 URL: Print Guide RSS Updates

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A systematic review is a critical assessment and evaluation of all research studies that address a particular clinical issue. The researchers use an organized method of locating, assembling, and evaluating a body of literature on a particular topic using a set of specific criteria. A systematic review typically includes a description of the findings of the collection of research studies. The systematic review may also include a quantitative pooling of data, called a meta-analysis. (Source: AHRQ)



The librarians at Scott Library are available to guide you through the process of developing a Systematic Review of the literature.  Due to the limited size of this group they do not perform searches but can consult with you on the following:

  • Development of an effective research question
  • Discuss search term selection
  • Recommend databases to include in the search
  • Review your search strategies
  • Provide instruction on advanced database searching techniques 
  • Provide instruction on the use of citation management software (creating RefWorks databases, etc.) for organizing retrieved references

Questions about the process?  Send them to us via the 'Ask a Librarian' box on the right or make an appointment.

Avoid Unnecessary Duplication

Before you embark on your Systematic Review journey it is recommended that you search the literature for Systematic Reviews that have been done on your topic or for prospective Systematic Reviews. A few examples of databases to search for this purpose would be:

    • an international database of prospectively registered systematic reviews in health and social care
    • aims to provide a comprehensive listing of systematic reviews registered at inception
    • helps to avoid unplanned duplication
    • enables comparison of reported review findings with what was planned in the protocol
  • Cochrane Library
    Provides the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews and Protocols.
  • PubMed
    Search PubMed for existing Systematic Reviews
  • PubMed Health
    Specializes in systematic reviews of clinical effectiveness research.

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