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Conducting a Systematic Review

Systematic Reviews

A systematic review is a review that uses systematic methods to identify, select and critically appraise relevant research and to collect and analyse data from the studies that are included in the review. They were first carried out in the medical sciences but are now increasingly popular in the social sciences too.

The 5 steps in a systematic review are:

1. Defining and agreeing the research question
2. Searching the literature
3. Assessing the studies
4. Combining the results
5. Synthesising the results and reporting the findings

How the Library can help

The Library can help primarily with the second step: searching the literature. We can help define appropriate search terms, and advise on how best to combine them. We also provide advice on the most relevant subscription and freely available databases for each topic.

We can provide advice on converting the research question into a search strategy but we can also provide examples on the structure and nature of systematic review questions. Some aspects of the question might be best used as inclusion/exclusion criteria when screening the articles, depending on the topic.

The Library can provide training and assistance on techniques and software to manage, organise and keep track of the material you find.

We will enable you to find and access the full text of any articles or papers you discover which are of interest, whether they are immediately available through the Library’s subscriptions or not.