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Systematic Searching Support

What is a Systematic Review?

Aim: To collect, appraise, and synthesize all empirical evidence related to a specific question, following specific criteria to ensure comprehensiveness and to minimize bias.

Synonyms: Cochrane Review (a systematic review completed by a Cochrane review group)

Notes about Methodology

  • Clearly stated set of objectives with pre-defined inclusion criteria with an explicit, reproducible methodology
  • Systematic search that attempts to identify all potential studies
  • Independent reviewers
  • Quality assessment/risk of bias determination
  • Narrative synthesis of findings of the included studies
  • Analysis generally includes clinical implications
  • Grey literature should be considered to reduce bias

Methodology Guidance

Reporting Standards

PRISMA is an international group of methodology experts dedicated to improving reporting quality of reviews. Most journals that accept systematic reviews will adhere to the PRISMA standards and will require a PRISMA flow diagram



This reference may serve as an example of a quality project:  

McDanel, J., Schweizer, M., Crabb, V., Nelson, R., Samore, M., Khader, K., Blevins, A. E., Diekema, D., Chiang, H. Y., Nair, R., & Perencevich, E. (2017). Incidence of Extended-Spectrum beta-Lactamase (ESBL)-Producing Escherichia coli and Klebsiella Infections in the United States: A Systematic Literature Review. Infect Control Hosp Epidemiol, 38(10), 1209-1215.  View full text