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AHS 361 - Integrative Physiology

A systematic review is...

The purpose of a systematic review is to locate and synthesize all the scholarly research studies on a specific topic. A systematic review uses systematic processes and procedures to find, evaluate, and synthesize the results of the research. Systematic procedures are carefully followed to ensure that the research is transparent and can be replicated. This also minimizes bias.

A systematic review has:

  • Clear inclusion/ exclusion criteria
  • An explicit search strategy
  • Systematic analysis of included studies

Example of a Systematic Review

Steps in a Systematic Review

Steps in a systematic literature review
  1. Determine your question
  2. Create a review protocol
    • Search strategy (exhaustive)
      • Inclusion and exclusion criteria
      • Data organization
  3. Conduct a thorough search
    • Use core and specialized databases
      • Inclusion and exclusion criteria
      • Reference management (e.g. Zotero)
  4. Assess the quality of the studies
  5. Summarize evidence
  6. Interpret findings.


Exhaustive Searching

Exhaustive systematic searching requires using a combination of more than one search strategy.

Searching PubMed using MeSH Headings

Assignment Documents

Worksheets for developing your research question

Worksheets to use when developing your search protocol and recording search results

Templates for extracting and evaluating data from included research studies.