A systematic review attempts to collect and analyze all evidence that answers a specific question. The question must be clearly defined and have inclusion and exclusion criteria. A broad and thorough search of the literature is performed and a critical analysis of the search results is reported and ultimately provides a current evidence-based answer to the specific question.
There are a wide variety of different types of reviews. For an excellent summary of 14 review types, see Grant MJ, Booth A. A typology of reviews: an analysis of 14 review types and associated methodologies. Health Info Libr J. 2009 Jun;26(2):91-108. PMID: 19490148.
Here are some common categories:
Narrative reviews: Broad perspective on topic, no specified search strategy, significant bias issues, may not evaluate quality of evidence
Systematic reviews: Comprehensive with minimized bias, based on specific question and criteria with a pre-planned protocol, evaluates quality of evidence
Scoping Reviews: An overview of the literature on a broader topic; often done to identify whether a systematic review is feasible or to identify the overall state of the literature. For detailed information on how to do a Scoping Review, check out the Joanna Briggs Institute Guidelines.
Health Science Librarians are available to assist you with your systematic review.
The Health Sciences Library offers support for Stony Brook researchers conducting systematic reviews and meta-analyses. Librarians have specialized expertise in literature searching, controlled vocabularies, search strategy construction, and resource utilization and selection that can be highly valuable in the SR research process. Our services range from basic training and consultation to higher levels of involvement for which author credit is required, see list below.
Standard Support - email for a consultation appointment
Author Credit Required for more in-depth involvement - email to establish initial meeting
Please contact us by email (email@example.com) to discuss your SR topic, scope, timeline, and assistance needs.
Library Administration: 631.632.7100
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