Systematic Reviews

Systematic Reviews Librarians

Carmen Bou-Crick

Zsuzsanna Nemeth

John Reazer

John Reynolds

Calder Library's Systematic Review Service
Introduction to Systematic Reviews

What is a Systematic Review?
 
A Systematic Review is a scientific investigation that focuses on a specific question and uses explicit, pre-specified scientific methods to identify, select, assess, and summarize the findings of similar but separate studies.
It may include a quantitative synthesis (meta-analysis), depending on the available data.
 
Institute of Medicine (IOM) of the National Academies of Sciences.

Librarians' Role in Systematic Reviews

"Work with a librarian or other information specialist trained in performing systematic reviews to plan the search strategy." (Institute of Medicine, Standards for Systematic Reviews, 3.1.1)

Librarian involvement in systematic reviews improves both the quality and the reproducibility of the literature search (Rethlefsen et al 2015).

Calder Librarians can help you to:

  • Clearly define your question
  • Create comprehensive search strategies
  • Choose the right databases & resources
  • Assist in finding relevant articles
  • Organize search results using citation management software (EndNote, RefWorks, Mendeley)
  • Write the methodology section of the review.

Please contact us for more information about how we can collaborate with your team.

Subject Specialist

Carmen Bou-Crick

Zsuzsanna Nemeth

John Reazer

John Reynolds

Steps of a Review
PIECES

P: Planning-  the methods of the systematic review are generally decided before conducting it. 
I: Identifying- searching for studies which match the preset criteria in a systematic manner.
E: Evaluating- sort all retrieved articles (included or  excluded) and asses the risk of bias for each included study.
C: Collecting/combining: each study is coded with preset form, either qualitatively or quantitatively synthesize data.
E: Explaining:  placed results of synthesis into context, strengths and weaknesses of the studies.
S: Summarizing: report is provides description of methods and results in a clear and transparent manner.

From Margaret Foster's Systematic Reviews Service libguide.
The Systematic Review Process

Tsafnet, G., Glasziou, P., Choong, M.K., et al. Systematic review automation technologies. Systematic Reviews 2014; 3:74;  http://www.systematicreviewsjournal.com/content/3/1/74.
Database Descriptions
SYSTEMATIC REVIEWS DATABASES:

Cochrane Library (Wiley)

The Cochrane Library is a collection of six databases that contain different types of high-quality, independent evidence to inform healthcare decision-making, and a seventh database that provides information about Cochrane groups.  Databases included are: Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, Cochrane Controlled Trials Register, Database of Abstracts of Reviews of Effects, Cochrane Methodology Register, Health Technology Assessment Database and NHS Economic Evaluation Database.

Joanna Briggs Institute (JBI) Evidence-Based Practice Database (OVID)
The Joanna Briggs Institute EBP Database allows you to search simultaneously a wide range of summarized and appraised evidence to inform your practice. This comprehensive range of resources includes over 3,000 records across seven publication types: Evidence Based Recommended Practices, Evidence Summaries, Best Practice Information Sheets, Systematic Reviews, Consumer Information Sheets, Systematic Review Protocols, and Technical Reports.  Subject Area Nodes contain evidence organized into health care areas/specialties. Only information specific to that health topic is included in each database.

Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ):  EPC Evidence-Based Reports

These reports provide comprehensive, science-based information on common, costly medical conditions and new health care technologies and strategies. The EPCs review all relevant scientific literature on a wide spectrum of clinical and health services topics. EPCs also produce technical reports on methodological topics and other types of evidence synthesis-related reports.

PubMed Health

PubMed Health provides information for consumers and clinicians on prevention and treatment of diseases and conditions.  PubMed Health specializes in reviews of clinical effectiveness research, with easy-to-read summaries for consumers as well as full technical reports. Clinical effectiveness research finds answers to the question “What works?” in medical and health care.  PubMed Health is a service provided by the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) at the U.S. National Library of Medicine (NLM).

BIOMEDICAL DATABASES:

PubMed /MEDLINE (NLM)

PubMed comprises over 26 million citations for biomedical literature from MEDLINE, life science journals, and online books. PubMed citations and abstracts include the fields of biomedicine and health, covering portions of the life sciences, behavioral sciences, chemical sciences, and bioengineering. PubMed also provides access to additional relevant web sites and links to the other NCBI molecular biology resources.  PubMed is a free resource that is developed and maintained by the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI), at the U.S. National Library of Medicine (NLM), located at the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Covers 1940s to the present.

MEDLINE (OVID)
Ovid MEDLINE ® covers the international literature on biomedicine, including the allied health fields and the biological and physical sciences, humanities, and information science as they relate to medicine and health care. Information is indexed from approximately 5,600 journals published world-wide, 1946 to the present. Ovid MEDLINE ® is produced by the National Library of Medicine.

EMBASE (Elsevier)
Provides extensive coverage of international biomedical journals and conferences and is a key resource for generating systematic reviews, making informed decisions in evidence-based medicine, and for post-market surveillance of drugs and medical devices.

Scopus (Elsevier)
Scopus delivers a broad overview of global, interdisciplinary scientific information across all research fields (science, mathematics, engineering, technology, health and medicine, social sciences, and arts and humanities). Timely updates from thousands of peer-reviewed journals, preliminary findings from millions of conference papers, and the thorough analysis in an expanding collection of books ensure the most up-to-date and highest quality interdisciplinary content available.

Web of Science (Thomson Reuters)
By meticulously indexing the most important literature in the world, Web of Science has become the gold standard for research discovery and analytics. Web of Science connects publications and researchers through citations and controlled indexing in curated databases spanning every discipline. Use cited reference search to track prior research and monitor current developments in over 100 years’ worth of content that is fully indexed, including 59 million records and back-files dating back to 1898.

TRIP Database
Turning Research Into Practice (TRIP) is a clinical search engine designed to allow users to quickly and easily find and use high-quality research evidence to support their practice and/or care.  TRIP has been online since 1997 and in that time has developed into the Internet’s premier source of evidence-based content. TRIP's motto is ‘Find evidence fast.’  As well as research evidence, clinicians can search across other content types including images, videos, patient information leaflets, educational courses, and news. This is a free database.

Biosis Previews & Biological Abstracts (OVID)
BIOSIS Previews ® encompasses the entire field of life sciences and provides comprehensive coverage of the world’s published biological and biomedical research. This includes traditional areas of biology, as well as experimental, clinical and veterinary medicine, biotechnology, environmental studies, and agriculture. More than 6,500 serials are monitored for inclusion. In addition to full-length research articles from serials, and database also cover national and international meetings, reviews, technical letters and notes, meeting reports (from 1989 to present), software (1992 to present), and books.

NURSING DATABASES:

CINAHL Plus (EBSCO)

CINAHL Plus provides indexing for 3,802 journals from the fields of nursing and allied health, with indexing back to 1937.It also contains searchable cited references for more than 1,270 journals.Full-text material includes nearly 80 journals plus legal cases, clinical innovations, critical paths, drug records, research instruments, and clinical trials.

Joanna Briggs Institute (JBI) Evidence-Based Practice Database (OVID)
The Joanna Briggs Institute EBP Database allows you to search simultaneously, a wide range of summarized and appraised evidence, to inform your practice. This comprehensive range of resources includes over 3,000 records across seven publication types: Evidence Based Recommended Practices, Evidence Summaries, Best Practice Information Sheets, Systematic Reviews, Consumer Information Sheets, Systematic Review Protocols, and Technical Reports.  Subject Area Nodes: Evidence organized into health care area/specialties. Only information specific to that health topic is included in each database.

PSYCHOLOGY & PSYCHIATRY DATABASES:

PsycINFO (EBSCO)

The American Psychological Association's database of more than one million citations to the psychology literature, published since 1967.

PsycEXTRA (EBSCO)
Grey literature database, which serves as a companion to the scholarly PsycINFO database. Most of the content was written for professionals and disseminated outside of peer-reviewed journals.
 
Section Editor

Carmen Bou-Crick

Zsuzsanna Nemeth

John Reazer

John Reynolds

Section Editor

Carmen Bou-Crick

Zsuzsanna Nemeth

John Reazer

John Reynolds

Grey Literature
What is Grey Literature?
“That which is produced on all levels of government, academics, business, and industry in print and electronic formats, but which is not controlled by commercial publishers” (4th International Conference on Grey Literature 1999).  Could be government reports, annual reports, research registries, regulatory documents, evaluation reports, health services research registries, advocacy group documents, news articles, company publications, blogs, emails, tweets, letters, etc.  It is unpublished evidence. The purpose of grey literature is to reduce publication bias effect; smaller studies or studies with null or negative findings does not get published readily."  From Margaret Foster's, "Pieces of a Systematic Review:  What searches beyond the typical databases should be done?" Webinar, March 2, 2017.

Where to find the grey literature?

ClinicalTrials.gov

ClinicalTrials.gov is a registry and results database of publicly and privately supported clinical studies of human participants conducted around the world. Learn more about clinical studies and about this site, including relevant history, policies, and laws.  The Web site is maintained by the National Library of Medicine (NLM) at the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Information on ClinicalTrials.gov is provided and updated by the sponsor or principal investigator of the clinical study. Studies are generally submitted to the Web site (that is, registered) when they begin, and the information on the site is updated throughout the study. In some cases, results of the study are submitted after the study ends. This Web site and database of clinical studies is commonly referred to as a "registry and results database."  (From the ClinicalTrials.gov website, accessed on April 21, 2017)

WHO International Clinical Trials Registry Platform (ICTRP)

The Clinical Trials Search Portal provides access to a central database containing the trial registration data sets provided by several trials registries around the world.  It also provides links to the full original records.  To facilitate the unique identification of trials, the Search Portal bridges (groups together) multiple records about the same trial.  Registries that report on a weekly basis include:  Australian New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry; Chinese Clinical Trial Registry; ClinicalTrials.gov; EU Clinical Trials Register (EU-CTR); ISRCTN; The Netherlands National Trial Register, and others.  Please note: This Search Portal is not a clinical trials registry.

All Trials.net

AllTrials is an international initiative of Ben Goldacre, BMJ, Centre for Evidence-based Medicine, Cochrane Collaboration, James Lind Initiative, PLOS and Sense about Science and is being led in the US by Sense About Science USA, Dartmouth’s Geisel School of Medicine and the Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy & Clinical Practice. The AllTrials petition has been signed by 90111 people and 721 organisations (as of April 21, 2017).

Google Scholar
Google Scholar provides a simple way to broadly search for scholarly literature. From one place, you can search across many disciplines and sources: articles, theses, books, abstracts and court opinions, from academic publishers, professional societies, online repositories, universities and other web sites. Google Scholar helps you find relevant work across the world of scholarly research.  Disclaimer: Legal opinions in Google Scholar are provided for informational purposes only and should not be relied on as a substitute for legal advice from a licensed lawyer. Google does not warrant that the information is complete or accurate.

Other sources of grey literature include government reports, guidelines, white papers, dissertations and thesis, conference proceedings, technical reports, legislation, etc. Including research from these types of unpublished documents will reduce publication bias.

Healthy People.gov

Healthy People provides science-based, 10-year national objectives for improving the health of all Americans. For 3 decades, Healthy People has established benchmarks and monitored progress over time in order to encourage collaborations across communities and sectors; empower individuals toward making informed health decisions; and measure the impact of prevention activities.  Healthy People relies on many diverse data systems including national censuses of events (like the National Vital Statistics System), nationally representative sample surveys (like the National Health Interview Survey), and other valid and reliable data sources (like the Bicycle Helmet Safety Institute).  (From the HealthyPeople.gov website, accessed April 21, 2017).

Science.gov

Science.gov searches over 60 databases and over 2,200 scientific websites to provide users with access to more than 200 million pages of authoritative federal science information including research and development results.  Science.gov is governed by the interagency Science.gov Alliance.  Some of the participating  government agencies are NIH, NSF, USDA, US NLM, EPA, GPO, NASA, and others.

WorldCat.org

WorldCat is the world's largest library catalog, helping you find library materials online.  WorldCat connects you to the collections and services of more than 10,000 libraries worldwide.

ProQuest Dissertations and Thesis Database

ProQuest Dissertation & Theses Global (PQDT Global) simplifies searching for dissertations and theses via a single access point to explore an extensive, trusted collection of 3.8 million graduate works, with 1.7 million in full text. Designated as an official offsite repository for the U.S. Library of Congress, PQDT Global offers comprehensive historic and ongoing coverage for North American works and significant and growing international coverage from a multiyear program of expanding partnerships with international universities and national associations. We offer effective and efficient results on our curated content platform with expert metadata that reduces noise in search results. Direct access to full text and other ProQuest and ebook subscriptions advance the research process.  This is a Subscription Database with a separate collection of open access dissertations (see next link). 

PQDT Open

PQDT Open provides the full text of open access dissertations and theses free of charge.  Locate dissertations and theses relevant to your discipline and view the complete text in PDF format.  The authors of these dissertations and theses have opted to publish as open access. Open Access Publishing is a new service offered by ProQuest's UMI Dissertation Publishing.  In addition to open access dissertations and theses, more are available from ProQuest (on a subscription-based access). Check with your library, since many libraries subscribe to ProQuest Dissertations & Theses and make it available to you free of charge. (from the PQDT website, accessed on April 21, 2017).

Please note that the information provided here has been taken from each website.  This section is edited by Carmen Bou-Crick, M.S.L.S., AHIP.  Contact information: Telephone:  305-243-1967 email:  cbou@miami.edu.
 

Other Types of Reviews with Descriptions and Hyperlinks to More Information*

Evidence map (mapping review) and systematic map
  • Systematically and transparently collects and categorizes existing evidence on a broad question of policy or management importance.
  • May critically evaluate existing evidence, but does not attempt to synthesize the results in the way a systematic review would.
Literature (Narrative) review
  • A broad term referring to reviews with a wide scope and non-standardized methodology.
  • Search strategies, comprehensiveness, and time range covered will vary and do not follow an established protocol.
Meta-analysis
  • Statistical technique for combining the findings from disparate quantitative studies.
  • Uses statistical methods to objectively evaluate, synthesize, and summarize results.
  • Maybe conducted independently or as part of a systematic review.
Rapid review
  • Applies systematic review methodology within a time-constrained setting.
  • Useful for addressing issues needing quick decisions.
Scoping review
  • Addresses a broader research question or set of questions.
  • Often conducted in preparation for conducting a systematic review.
  • Seeks to identify research gaps and opportunities for evidence synthesis.
Umbrella review
  • Reviews other systematic reviews on a topic.
  • Often defines a broader question than is typical of a traditional systematic review.
  • This type of review is most useful when there are competing interventions to consider.
 

* Adapted from Cornell University's A Guide to Conducting Systematic Reviews LibGuide.

Section Editor

Carmen Bou-Crick

Zsuzsanna Nemeth

John Reazer

John Reynolds