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Systematic Reviews

Systematic review services and guidance at Galter Library

What is a systematic review?

“A systematic review attempts to identify, appraise and synthesize all the empirical evidence that meets pre-specified eligibility criteria to answer a given research question. Researchers conducting systematic reviews use explicit methods aimed at minimizing bias, in order to produce more reliable findings that can be used to inform decision making.” 

Standards & Guidance

Here are some standards and additional research synthesis methods papers to get you started:

Chandler, J., Churchill, R., Higgins, J., Lasserson, T., & Tovey, D. (2013). Methodological standards for the conduct of new Cochrane Intervention Reviews, Version 2.3. Available from

European Network for Health Technology Assessment. (2015) Guideline: Process of information retrieval for systematic reviews and health technology assessments on clinical effectiveness. JUL 2015. Available from:

Higgins, J., Green, S., & (editors). (2011). Cochrane Handbook for Systematic Reviews of Interventions Version 5.1.0  [updated March 2011]. J. Higgins & S. Green (Eds.), Available from:  

IOM (Institute of Medicine). (2011). Finding What Works in Health Care: Standards for Systematic Reviews. Available from:

Liberati, A., Altman, D. G., Tetzlaff, J., Mulrow, C., Gotzsche, P. C., Ioannidis, J. P., . . . Moher, D. (2009). The PRISMA statement for reporting systematic reviews and meta-analyses of studies that evaluate health care interventions: explanation and elaboration. PLoS Medicine, 6(7), e1000100. doi: 10.1371/journal.pmed.1000100. Available from:

Moher, D., Liberati, A., Tetzlaff, J., Altman, D. G., & Prisma Group. (2009). Preferred reporting items for systematic reviews and meta-analyses: the PRISMA statement. PLoS Medicine, 6(7), e1000097. doi: 10.1371/journal.pmed.1000097. Available from:

Moher D., Shamseer L., Clarke M., Ghersi D., Liberati A., Petticrew M., . . . PRISMA-P Group (2015). Preferred reporting items for systematic review and meta-analysis protocols (PRISMA-P) 2015 statement. Systematic Reviews, 4(1), doi:10.1186/2046-4053-4-1. Availalble from:  

Rader, T., Mann, M., Stansfield, C., Cooper, C., & Sampson, M. (2013). Methods for documenting systematic review searches: a discussion of common issues. Research Synthesis Methods, Article first published online: 8 OCT 2013. doi: 10.1002/jrsm.1097. Available from:

Rethlefsen, M. L., Murad, M., & Livingston, E. H. (2014). Engaging medical librarians to improve the quality of review articles. JAMA, 312(10), 999-1000. doi: 10.1001/jama.2014.9263. Availalble from:

Shamseer, L., Moher, D., Clarke, M., Ghersi, D., Liberati, A. D., Petticrew, M., . . . PRISMA-P Group. (2015). Preferred reporting items for systematic review and meta-analysis protocols (PRISMA-P) 2015: elaboration and explanation. BMJ, 349, g7647. doi: 10.1136/bmj.g7647. Available from:

Umscheid, C. A. (2013). A Primer on Performing Systematic Reviews and Meta-analyses. Clinical Infectious Diseases, 57(5), 725-734. doi: 10.1093/cid/cit333. Available from: