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Systematic reviews: Guidelines

Guidelines for systematic reviews

  • There are a number of systematic review guidelines available, including the PRISMA Statement, Cochrane Handbook and JBI Manual for Evidence Synthesis. In many respects they are very similar.
  • This library is only able to offer advice on the PRISMA Statement.

The PRISMA Statement

The PRISMA Statement is a detailed guide to the systematic review process. Many published systematic reviews refer to following the PRISMA guidelines, but there are also other guidelines.

Content on is well worth exploring. It includes:

  • PRISMA Statement - guidelines for reviews and meta analyses including examples, explanation and elaboration, checklist and flow chart
  • Protocols - help with planning your review and registering a protocol on PROSPERO
  • PRISMA extensions - for abstracts, harms, protocols etc

PRISMA checklist

Cochrane Guidelines

Cochrane Handbook for Systematic Reviews of Interventions

Recommended for:

  • Members of a Cochrane Review team - you will know if you are.
  • Reviewers looking for specific guidance on processes not covered elsewhere eg search strings for clinical trials

Joanna Briggs Institute (JBI) Guidelines

JBI Manual for Evidence Synthesis 

  • Guide to JBI methodology for conducting systematic reviews and evidence syntheses
  • Manual openly available online without a subscription.

Recommended for:

  • Nurse researchers (although also relevant to other professions)
  • Researchers with access to subscriptions for Joanna Briggs Institute and JBI SUMARI software (not available through SVHM)

Guide Author

Helen Wilding, Senior Research Librarian

Carl de Gruchy Library, St Vincent's Hospital Melbourne

Literature Searching, Systematic Reviews, Mental Health liaison 
Thursdays, Fridays & alternate Wednesdays
Helen's profile | Researchgate | Orcid