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Systematic Review: Steps

How to carry out a systematic review of the literature.

Steps in a systematic review

A systematic review follows a number of steps.

STEP 1 Formulate the review question

STEP 2 Search the Literature

STEP 3 Quality assessment

STEP 4 Data extraction

STEP 5 Analyse and synthesise

STEP 6 Write up

Tips for getting started

Here are some hints and tips for those undertaking a systematic review for the first time:

  • Start by exploring the Library’s collection of books about systematic reviews.
  • Explore a few systematic reviews which have been published within your discipline. To find these identify a key database and search for the phrase “systematic review”. Reading published reviews will help you to become familiar with how reviews are undertaken and reported in your discipline.
  • Allow plenty of time for your searching.
  • If you are updating an existing review ensure you can access all the databases used in the original study - we may not subscribe to them all at Strathclyde. If you are unsure, or think a database might have changed name, as your Faculty Librarian for help.
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