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Systematic Reviews

This guide provides tips and strategies for conducting a systematic literature review.

Types of Reviews


Systematic Review

"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." (Cochrane Handbook, version 6.3, section 1)


"Meta-analysis is the statistical combination of results from two or more separate studies. Potential advantages of meta-analyses include an improvement in precision, the ability to answer questions not posed by individual studies, and the opportunity to settle controversies arising from conflicting claims. However, they also have the potential to mislead seriously, particularly if specific study designs, within-study biases, variation across studies, and reporting biases are not carefully considered." (Cochrane Handbook, version 6.3, section 10)

Scoping Review (Systematic Map)

"Systematic Maps do not aim to answer a specific question, but instead collate, describe and map findings in terms of distribution and abundance of evidence, often configured in relation to different elements of a question." (CEE Guidelines and Standards for Evidence Synthesis in Environmental Management, version 5.0, section 2.4)