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What is a systematic review?
A systematic review is a type of literature review that uses explicit methods to gather, appraise, and synthesize all existing scientific literature that addresses a particular research question.
A systematic review is written by a team of researchers and experts in the field.
Systematic reviews are a key part of evidence-based practice, because they are designed to provide practitioners with a synthesis of the best available evidence to aid in decision-making.
Systematic reviews are most common in the health sciences, but they are growing in popularity in other disciplines.
How do I find systematic reviews?
Not every topic has published systematic reviews. If you are unable to locate a systematic review on your specific topic, try broadening your search.
Within the database or resource you are using, look for refining options such as "systematic review." Note: this option is not always available nor consistently used.
Find systematic reviews
CINAHL Plus with Full Text
The systematic review limit is under "Advanced Search" and then "Publication Type".
Dates of Coverage: 1939 - Current
Collection of evidence-based medicine databases. Make sure to select the "review" option to limit your results.
Databases of Coverage:
The Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews (CDSR)
The Database of Abstracts of Reviews of Effects (DARE)
The Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials (CENTRAL)
The Cochrane Methodology Register (Methodology Register)
Health Technology Assessment Database (HTA)
NHS Economic Evaluation Database (NHS EED) PubMed
The systematic review limit is under "Show Additional Features" and then "Subjects".
Dates of Coverage: 1946 - present
Database of promoting health effectiveness reviews (DoPHER)
Coverage of systematic and non-systematic reviews of effectiveness in health promotion and public health worldwide.
A database of health evidence, including the largest collection of systematic reviews related to health care.
International HTA Database
Includes bibliographic information about in-progress and published health technology assessments.
A registry of systematic reviews in health and social care, welfare, public health, education, crime, and international development, where there is a health-related outcome.
Social Applied Sciences and Humanities
Catalogues studies of cognitive, behavioural and other treatments
for psychological problems and issues occurring as a consequence of acquired brain impairment (ABI). Access the abstracts via the Google Scholar link. The Campbell Collaboration
Includes research evidence on the effects of interventions in crime and justice, education, international development, and social welfare.
Evidence for Policy and Practice Information and Co-ordinating Centre (EPPI-Centre)
Conducts systematic reviews in areas such as: Education and social policy; Health promotion and public health; International health systems and development; Participative research and policy
Provides access to the scholarly literature in the psychological, social, behavioral, and health sciences. Includes journals, books, reviews, and dissertations with links to full text where available.
Dates of Coverage: 1597 - Current, Comprehensive from 1880s (Updated Twice Weekly)
Resources to help with systematic reviews