Stages of a systematic review


Core principles and methods for conducting a systematic review of health interventions

Search for existing reviews to ensure a new review is justified

Establish the review team

Form an advisory group

Draft the review protocol

Set out the methods to be used in the review, including:

Background Review question and inclusion criteria, Defining inclusion criteria,

Identifying research evidence, Study selection, Data extraction, Quality assessment, Data synthesis and Dissemination

Approval of the draft protocol

Undertake the review

Identifying research evidence for systematic reviews, including:

Minimizing publication and language biases, Selecting electronic databases and other sources, Constructing the search strategy for electronic databases,

Text mining, Updating literature searches, Current awareness, Managing references, Obtaining documents and Documenting the search

Study selection

Data extraction, including:

design, content, software, process and piloting

Quality assessment, including:

assessing risk of bias, and appropriateness of study design

Data synthesis , including:

Deciding on appropriate synthesis (quantitative/narrative) and initial descriptive synthesis

Report writing, including peer review and feedback

Archiving the review

Disseminating the findings

Adapted from:

Systematic reviews: CRD’s guidance for undertaking reviews in health care . Centre for Reviews and Dissemination, University of York, 2008