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Sudha Ramakrishnan
Julie Bolin

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What this guide is about

Do you want to start working on a review (systematic, scoping, narrative), but are unsure where and how to begin?

Welcome – this guide can help you get started!

According to the Cochrane Handbook for Systematic Reviews of Interventions, "Systematic reviews seek to collate evidence that fits pre-specified eligibility criteria in order to answer a specific research question. They aim to minimize bias by using explicit, systematic methods documented in advance with a protocol."

Systematic reviews aim to answer a focused question by collecting, appraising, analyzing and synthesizing studies that match the required criteria. They are rigorous, require planning, a great deal of time and effort and a team of at least 3 members.

Chandler J, Cumpston M, Thomas J, Higgins JPT, Deeks JJ, Clarke MJ. Chapter I: Introduction. In: Higgins JPT, Thomas J, Chandler J, Cumpston M, Li T, Page MJ, Welch VA (editors). Cochrane Handbook for Systematic Reviews of Interventions version 6.1 (updated September 2020). Cochrane, 2020. Available from

Before you get started

Consider the following questions:

  • What is the type of review best suited for your research question?
  • Does a similar review or protocol exist already?
  • Do you have the time and resources needed to conduct a review?
  • Do you have a team to work with you on the review?
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