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"A systematic review attempts to collate all empirical evidence that fits pre-specified eligibility criteria to answer a specific research question. It uses explicit, systematic methods that are selected with a view to minimizing bias, thus providing reliable findings from which conclusions can be drawn and decisions made.
The key characteristics of a systematic review are:
Liberati, A., Altman, D. G., Tetzlaff, J., Mulrow, C., Gøtzsche, P. C., Ioannidis, J. P. A., . . . Moher, D. (2009). The PRISMA Statement for Reporting Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses of Studies That Evaluate Health Care Interventions: Explanation and Elaboration. Annals of Internal Medicine, 151(4), W-65. doi: 10.7326/0003-4819-151-4-200908180-00136
The PRISMA Statement is a detailed guide to the systematic review process. Most published systematic reviews refer to following the PRISMA guidelines.
Content on http://www.prisma-statement.org is well worth exploring. It includes: