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Undergraduate Medical Education

UGME students

So you think you want to do a Systematic Review

You want to do a Systematic Review and/or a Meta-Analysis! But do you really? Before deciding, please watch the video below which gives a bite-sized presentation of what is required of a true Systematic Review. 

Before you begin a systematic review, ask yourself:

  1. Do I have a clearly defined clinical question with established inclusion and exclusion criteria? (Also known as a Systematic Review Protocol)
  2. Do I have a team of at least three people assembled?
  3. Do I have time to go through as many search results as we might find?
  4. Do I have resources to get foreign-language articles appropriately translated?
  5. Do I have the statistical resources to analyze and pool data?

If you answered “No” to any of the first four questions, another type of literature review may be more appropriate to do. If you answered “No” to the last question, a meta-analysis may not be an appropriate methodology for your review. 

(questions taken from Mayo Clinic's Liblog)

Now I'm not so sure I want to do a Systematic Review...

That's okay! There are many, many types of reviews for publication that you can do! Investigate different possible types on our Types of Knowledge Synthesis page. This will break down several options, and provide resources on many of them. 

Or read this short article of different types of reviews for a quick look at some of your options: 

Remember: A systematic review is not the only way to do a comprehensive study of a subject. Find the best type of research paper for your question, ability, and time-line. Feel free to contact your librarian if you have questions about the different types of reviews. 

I still want to do a Systematic Review!

Wonderful! Congratulations you brave soul. 

Your guide throughout the process should be the Systematic Review, Scoping Review, and other Knowledge Synthesis. It will walk you through every step of your review.  

Be sure to make an appointment with Eleni for assistance building a Systematic Search. We have a set of guidelines on librarian assistance in Systematic Reviews. Be sure to familiarize yourself with them!


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Eleni Philippopoulos

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