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University Library, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Systematic Reviews

Systematic Reviews

About the Systematic Reviews Guide

Use the Systematic Reviews guide to identify methods and resources for conducting systematic reviews within various fields and disciplines.

To request a consultation or instructional session, contact a subject specialist related to your area:

  • Peg (Margaret) Burnette - Biomedical Sciences
  • Kelsey Cheshire - Behavioral Sciences
  • Erin Kerby - Veterinary Medicine
  • Yali Feng - Visiting Behavioral Sciences Research and Data Services Librarian,
  • JJ Pionke - Applied Heath Sciences
  • Kelli Trei - Biosciences


What is a Systematic Review?

A systematic review “attempts to collate all empirical evidence that fits pre-specified eligibility criteria in order to answer a specific research
question. It uses explicit, systematic methods that are selected with a view to minimizing bias, thus providing more reliable findings from which
conclusions can be drawn and decisions made.”

Higgins JPT, Green S (editors). Cochrane Handbook for Systematic Reviews of Interventions Version 5.1.0 [updated March
2011]. The Cochrane Collaboration, 2011. Available from, Section 1.2.2


A Systematic Review is:

  • comprehensive review and analysis of literature related to a focused question
  • uses specific criteria for inclusion
  • reports search strategy and methods for inclusion/exclusion
  • inclusive studies address the same issue, in similar populations, in similar circumstances