Skip to Main Content

Systematic reviews

Overview of systematic review steps and resources to assist researchers conducting reviews.

Introduction to systematic reviews

Are you about to commence a systematic review?

These resources will provide you with a general outline of the process. This How Do I Guide is mainly aimed at health and medical science students, however contains some resources that can be applied to other disciplines that undertake systematic searches and reviews.

What is a systematic review?

According to Cochrane Reviews, the purpose of a systematic review is to "identify, appraise and synthesize all [e]mpirical evidence that meets pre-specified eligibility criteria to answer a specific research question". The goal of researchers undertaking a systematic review is to conduct a review that uses "explicit, systematic methods that are selected with a view aimed at minimizing bias, to produce more reliable findings to inform decision making".

Systematic reviews are one type of review undertaken by advanced researchers. This helpful guide from Cornell University Library below outlines the type of main reviews, their purpose, and similarities and differences from each other:


Our team of Liaison Librarians can help you with your systematic review queries. For more information about the resources available at the Library to support researchers who are conducting systematic reviews, please refer to the Systematic Review Service Charter:

Video: What are systematic reviews? (3:24)



Useful introductory resources