Skip to main content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

AHS 452 - Applied 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