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University Library, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Systematic Reviews

Systematic Reviews

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

Cochrane Evidence Essentials - Systematic Reviews

Books about Conducting Systematic Reviews