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Nursing: Systematic Reviews

Athlone Institute Of Technology Subject Information guide for Nursing

Some tutorials

Guidance on performing a systematic review from the CRD (Centre for Reviews and Dissemination)

A Guide to Conducting Systematic Reviews: Steps in a Systematic Review

Systematic Review: overview

Systematic Review: UCD guide

Where to search for Clinical trials: Medline, Embase, Cochrane, Web of Science, Scopus (EMBASE 90), Science Direct, CINAHL , Clinical trials registers, Grey Literature, Subject Specific Databases

How to report a study:  PRISMAEQUATOR, CONSORT

How to access a study:  GRADE, Newcastle-Ottowa, JADAD

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. 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, 2011)

Systematic Reviews

Systematic Review

More Information

Summary points

A systematic review is an overview of primary studies that used explicit and reproducible methods

A meta-analysis is a mathematical synthesis of the results of two or more primary studies that addressed the same hypothesis in the same way

Although meta-analysis can increase the precision of a result, it is important to ensure that the methods used for the review were valid and reliable

In contrast, a systematic review is an overview of primary studies which contains an explicit statement of objectives, materials, and methods and has been conducted according to explicit and reproducible methodology