Definition: A systematic review is a transparent, reproducible, objective, and comprehensive search of the literature focusing on a well-formulated research question. Systematic reviews are conducted by following a set of well-defined procedures and may involve meta-analysis.
Aim: To identify, appraise, select, and synthesize high-quality evidence relevant to that specific question.
Strengths: Using highly systematic and robust methods reduces bias in the gathering, summarizing, presenting, interpreting, and reporting of the research evidence. Brings together all known knowledge including published and unpublished literature. Very low risk of bias.
Drawbacks/Limitations: Time-consuming and can take approximately 12-18 months from protocol to publication.
Systematic reviews are not limited to medicine and healthcare. They are also used in psychology, education, sociology, agriculture, nutrition, business, STEM, and other fields.
Source: Research Shorts. (2017, May 24). Conducting a systematic literature review [Video]. YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WUErib-fXV0