STEPS TO A SUCCESSFUL SYSTEMATIC REVIEW:
(i) Appoint a team – include a librarian!
(ii) Define scope and aims of the review. Identify the key interested parties such as practitioners, policy makers, researchers and service users.
(iii) Write the protocol – a detailed description of methods to be used in the review process to ensure transparency and to eliminate bias.
(iv) Plan a search strategy – must be comprehensive. (This is where a consultation with your librarian will be helpful)
– Identify all bibliographic databases of relevance
– Identify all significance types of publication such as government reports, journal articles, “grey” literature.
– Identify key search terms and database subject headings. Be aware of search techniques to maximize relevant results (Boolean operators etc)
(v) Synthesis – read literature and combine results
(vi) Report & disseminate results
Need more help?
The following organisations specialise in social science systematic reviews and their websites contain much advice and guidance:
Campbell Collaboration – this is an international research network which specialises in systematic reviews in education, crime and justice, social welfare and international development.
Centre for Reviews and Dissemination – CRD specialise in health care systematic reviews.
Evidence for Policy and Practice Information and Co-ordinating Centre (EPPI-Centre) – part of the Social Science Research Unit at the Institute of Education, University of London. EPPI Centre specialise in systematic reviews of public policy.
Social Care Institute for Excellence – contains a section on methodology for systematic reviews in social care at http://www.scie.org.uk/topic/developingskillsservices/managingknowledgeresearch/systematicreviews
Cooper, H. M. (2010). Research synthesis and meta-analysis: A step-by-step approach (4th ed.). Los Angeles: Sage.
Gough, D., Oliver, S., & Thomas, J. (2012). An introduction to systematic reviews. London: Sage.
Noblit, G. W., & Hare, R. D. (1988). Meta-ethnography: Synthesizing qualitative studies. London: Sage.
Petticrew, M., & Roberts, H. (2006). Systematic reviews in the social sciences: : A practical guide. London: Blackwell
Victor, L. (2008). Systematic reviewing. Social Research Update , 54. Retreived from http://sru.soc.surrey.ac.uk/SRU54.pdf