"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 checklist: http://prisma-statement.org/PRISMAStatement/Checklist
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 http://www.prisma-statement.org is well worth exploring. It includes:
The Cochrane handbook sets out guidelines for Cochrane systematic reviews.
Image from the The Cochrane Collaboration © 2019
Webinar presentation by Helen Wilding, Senior Research Librarian at St Vincent's Hospital Melbourne, 30 July 2020. Presented as part of the Nursing Research Institute webinar series in collaboration with St Vincent’s Health Network Sydney, St Vincent’s Hospital, Melbourne & Australian Catholic University.