According to the National Library of Medicine a systematic review is
"A review of primary literature in health and health policy that attempts to identify, appraise, and synthesize all the empirical evidence that meets specified eligibility criteria to answer a given research question. Its conduct uses explicit methods aimed at minimizing bias in order to produce more reliable findings regarding the effects of interventions for prevention, treatment, and rehabilitation that can be used to inform decision making."
Source: "Publication Characteristics" National Library of Medicine
Systematic review authors assess the validity of the studies' findings and present their conclusions about the findings.
What distinguishes them from standard review articles is the narrowly defined research question, thorough documentation of reproduceable search methods, and strict guidelines for including or excluding studies.
Systematic reviews examine only primary source studies that contain methods, materials/participants, results, and conclusions. Do not include reviews or other systematic reviews in your search, use limits to exclude them or if not limits are available, verify that they are primary sources.
To learn more about what qualifies as a primary source, see the Library's guide:
P = Population/Patient
I = Intervention
C = Comparison (other methods of treatment/intervention)
O = Outcome
Check in with your professor about this step to see what guidance they have for you.
It may include a flowchart of the process. PRISMA provides the basic format for this chart
A scoping review investigates the depth of existing literature about a topic, it will be a narrow topic, but it will not be done to answer a particular question. Systematic reviews are designed around a research question.
While the focus is different, the steps are very similar, so use the steps on the left to do your research for either type of review.
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