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Medical Sciences: Search skills for systematic reviews: How are Systematic reviews different?

This tutorial will guide you through the steps required to systematically search for your research projects.

The distinguishing features of a systematic review is that it is protocol driven, i.e. it has:

  • a clearly defined question that needs answering,
  • an exhaustive search strategy,
  • clear inclusion and exclusion criteria,
  • explicit and transparent methods that are accountable, replicable and updateable,  
  • and a clear logical rationale that is reported to the reader. 

The search process for systematic reviews involves searching multiple bibliographic databases to ensure that you have been systematic and comprehensive in your approach, and utilising advanced search techniques to ensure all relevant studies are identified 

Protocols are essential to ensuring a rigorous approach! The following resources can be used to help prepare a systematic review protocol: 

If you would like to find existing systematic reviews search:

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