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Systematic Reviews: What is a systematic review?

What is a systematic review?

A systematic review is a tightly structured literature review that focuses on a topic with strict research parameters. The methodology used to collect research has to be consistent in order to reduce misinterpretation and misrepresentation of the data.

To help you understand and conduct your systematic review we have produce a number of posts to help you: 

You can access these and more from the Specialist Library Support online resources page.

What is a Systematic literature search?

A systematic literature search is a literature review on a database (such as Medline) which demonstrates that you have compiled a list of appropriate search terms and includes the structure of your search history which provides the evidence on which your assignment is based.

This is a less rigorous process than a systematic review. A systematic review usually covers a wider scope; you would be expected to look at all the available research in the area in question. For example, you would be expected to visit the Library if articles were only held in hard copy format, and where necessary obtain articles not held by the Library via the Inter-Library Loan service.

You may be told that you need to conduct a systematic review when in fact you just need to perform a literature search in a systematic manner. 

If you are unsure about the differences between a systematic review and a literature review take a look at this guide: What’s in a Name? The difference between a Systematic Review and a Literature Review and Why it Matters.

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