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Cruciform Library iSkills Blog


Tips; resources and news from the Cruciform enquiries team


8 steps for writing a biomedical systematic review

By Abir Mukherjee, on 9 May 2014

Although readers may be familiar with the concept of systematic reviews and the ‘PICO’ evidence based approach to finding literature by dividing the research topic into Patient / Intervention / Comparison and Outcome concepts, this blog post very briefly at 8 basic steps in constructing a comprehensive systematic review:

  1. Formulate a review question
  2. Define inclusion and exclusion criteria (Participants or Patient Group/ Interventions and comparisons / Outcomes / Study designs and methodological quality
  3. Locate studies and develop search strategy using the following:-
  • Cochrane Controlled Trials Register (CCTR)
  • Electronic databases + trials (e.g. PubMed & Medline / CINAHL/ EMBASE/ PsycInfo/ AMED/ Web of Science / Scopus )
  • Reference lists /key journals /Personal communication with experts in the field and Grey literature

   4.   Select studies 

   5.  Assess study quality

   6.  Extract data and consider bias

   7.  Analyse and present results

   8.  Interpret results,consider limitations and implications for future research




Systematic Reviews in Healthcare, Egger et al. 2nd edition

Additional resources:-

UCL Cruciform wiki:                                                              http://www.ucl.ac.uk/cruciwik

Printable UCL Library Guides:                     http://www.ucl.ac.uk/library/prints.shtml

Researcher support @ UCL:                        http://www.ucl.ac.uk/library/research-support

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