A young researcher's guide to a systematic review Series:
Results Conclusion The first step is to formulate a research question. This stage forms part of a larger stage of devising the research protocol. The question should be clearly focussed, neither too narrow nor too broad.
The acronym PICO has been devised to summarise the four parts a question should take into account the population or patient group studied, the intervention, treatment or test, a comparison or alternative intervention, and the outcome of the intervention see figure 1 for an example The research protocol covers the methods for searching the literature and extracting and analysing the data.
The methodology should be clearly defined before starting, in order to minimise bias. Inclusion and exclusion criteria should also be determined at this stage. The literature search is the next step. Bibliographic databases including Pubmed, Medline, the Cochrane Library and Embase for healthcare can be used.
It is wise to use more than one online database as each one includes a different range of journals. Reference lists of articles are useful for finding new areas to investigate, as can handsearching of journals. The aim of searching the literature is to produce an inclusive list of relevant research studies from which to select the studies included in the review.
This stage also involves screening for and removing duplicates. This can be done through a computer based reference management system such as EndNote. Data extraction can be done using a standardised form. This links to an example of such a form: Such a form means data can also be entered into a database, making future use easier.
Different types of systematic review demand different forms, so ensure you use the most correct type. Quality appraisal is perhaps the most central step, and there are a number of checklists which have been developed to help with this process.
This links to a simple and easy to understand example: It should be kept in mind, however, that different checklists can produce very different results. On the basis of quality appraisal, studies are rejected and accepted. Data analysis is the next stage. A simple form of data analysis is to descriptively evaluate the studies, summarising these in table format.
Such tables typically include the population studied, interventions and outcomes.
Methodology and potential bias might also be listed. Metaanalysis might also be carried out. The results are then interpreted.
Strengths and weaknesses of the studies included in the review are considered. The findings of the studies are summarised, and conclusions indicated.
Recommendations for future studies are often made. Writing up a Systematic Review Systematic reviews follow a clear structure, generally of the format The title should be concise and accurate The abstract should be clearly structured The introduction should summarise the topic and explain why the review is necessary.How to write an introduction and methods of a systematic review of literature Table: Review of background/introduction part of systematic reviews published by Cochrane review from the list of top 50 most-accessed abstracts of systematic reviews in past 3.
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Objective. To report the results of a systematic literature review concerning the security and privacy of electronic health record (EHR) systems.
Ready to start a systematic review? HSL Librarians can help! Fill out the Systematic Review Request Form and the best-suited librarian will get back to you promptly. In , an extensive review showed that aerobic exercise lowered BP not only in hypertensive patients, but also in normotensive patients, overweight subjects, and normal weight subjects.