Read through this guide to determine if there is a shared understanding on what is involved with doing a systematic review.
Is it really really a systematic review? Do you have the time and the team assembled to do a systematic review?
Systematic review search methods evaluated using the Preferred Reporting of Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses and the Risk Of Bias In Systematic reviews tool - International Journal of Technology Assessment in Health Care - 7 December 2020
Assessment of Publication Trends of Systematic Reviews and Randomized Clinical Trials, 1995 to 2017. Niforatos JD, Weaver M, Johansen ME. JAMA Intern Med. 2019 Jul 29. doi: 10.1001/jamainternmed.2019.3013.
Consider requesting a scoping review or even a general literature search in the first instance to get a feel for the amount of information available before refining your request and beginning the systematic review.
A systematic review is a protocol-driven, comprehensive literature review, designed to answer a well defined question. It involves using a specific research methodology with internationally accepted characteristics.
If you are not prepared to follow this strict methodology then perhaps another review type would be more appropriate. [See the Review Types link]. The Yale University's Harvey Cushing / John Hay Whitney Medical Library has an excellent series of short videos on the process of conducting a systematic review.
The key characteristics of a systematic review are:
Systematic reviews may also contain meta-analyses. Meta-analysis is the use of statistical methods to summarize the results of independent studies. By combining information from all relevant studies, meta-analyses can provide more precise estimates of the effects of health care than those derived from the individual studies included within a review (see The Cochrane Handbook Chapter 10). They also facilitate investigations of the consistency of evidence across studies, and the exploration of differences across studies.
Series of papers in Heart & Lung
Part 1, the overview - September-October 2020
Part 2, preparation is key: The question and the protocol - 26 August 2020
Part 3, the value of the search - March-April 2021
Part 4, screening the results - March-April 2021
Part 5, quality appraisal, data extraction, synthesis - September-October 2021
Part 6, reporting guidelines - March-April 2022
Part 7, critical appraisal of systematic review quality - May-June 2022
Acknowledgement - much of the content in this guide has been adapted / copied from the Yale University's Harvey Cushing / John Hay Whitney Medical Library's guide on systematic reviews and other comprehensive searching guide.