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Are you really doing a systematic review?

Does your research question match the criteria for a systematic review?

The purpose of a systematic review is to:

  • 'answer a clinically meaningful question
  • the question addresses the feasability, appropriateness, meaningfulness or effectiveness of a certain treatment or practice'
  • 'A systematic review may be undertaken to confirm or refute whether or not current practice is based on relevant evidence, to establish the quality of that evidence, and to address any uncertainty or variations in practice that may be occuring.'1

A systematic review question should have an intervention or exposure. Consider if your research question is more suited to a different type of review rather than a systematic review.

1. Munn Z, Peters MDJ, Stern C, Tufanaru C, McArthur A, Aromataris E. Systematic review or scoping review? Guidance for authors when choosing between a systematic or scoping review approach. BMC Med Res Methodol. 2018;18(1):143.

How is a systematic review different to a literature review?

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