This guide has information to support researchers conducting systematic reviews in the fields of Science, Engineering and I.T. If you are conducting a systematic review with a health focus, see the Systematic Reviews for Medicine and Health Sciences Library Guide.
While systematic reviews are traditionally undertaken in the area of Health and Medicine, there has been a rise in other disciplines conducting systematic and systematic-like reviews, using the systematic approach to summarize and assess existing evidence to identify gaps and help inform decisions.
There are many types of reviews, and it is important to assess whether your research is best suited to a systematic review or a systematic-like review. A systematic-like review could mean taking a more structured and organised approach to your review or ensuring that your review is transparent and reproducible. Depending on the level of your research, you can determine which type of review and which guidelines are best to follow.
The frameworks below can help you clearly define your research question. A clear and focused question will guide you through each stage of your review, from establishing your inclusion and exclusion criteria, developing your search strategy to composing your findings.
Guidelines and standards help to ensure that a systematic review provides results that are valid, transparent, and reproducible. In Health and Medicine, the Cochrane Handbook is the gold standard for systematic reviews. The rise of systematic reviews in disciplines other than health has called for new guidelines to be developed. Some of these guidelines are listed below as well as articles by researchers in different fields who have identified the need for discipline specific systematic review guidelines, and which outline examples.
A protocol is a plan for your research which details every stage of your process. Your protocol should then be registered, so that other researchers are advised that someone is already conducting research on the topic. Refer to the guidelines and reporting standards relevant to your research, as they may contain information on how to develop a protocol.
These tools can assist with producing a Systematic Review.
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