10 Useful Resources for Would-Be Systematic Reviewers

Do you teach systematic review methodology? Or are you interested in finding out more about systematic reviews and how they are put together? We’ve collated 10 useful resources for systematic review beginners.

1. The Cochrane Handbook

The Cochrane Oral Health Group is part of the Cochrane Collaboration and the Cochrane Handbook is the ultimate guide for writing a Cochrane systematic review. Organized in 3 parts and 22 chapters, it takes you through the process from constructing a title to updating your review.

2. Bandolier Download: What is a systematic review?

Bandolier is great resource for evidence based healthcare, and includes extended essays, a knowledge library and a learning zone. This download is an 8 page overview of systematic reviews, their uses and tips on critical appraisal.

3. Sense About Science: systematic reviews

Sense About Science is a charitable trust which aims to equip people to make sense of scientific and medical claims in public discussion. They have produced a two page, easily digestible guide to systematic reviews and their importance to healthcare.

4. How do we know what works? Systematic research reviews

Tari Turner and Steve McDonald from the Australasian Cochrane Centre explain what they do for a living in a brief and accessible introduction to systematic review concepts.

5. CRD’s Guidance for Undertaking Reviews in Health Care

The Centre for Reviews and Dissemination have produced a guide for systematic reviewers, with 6 chapters including information on adverse effects reviews, economic evaluations and incorporating qualitative evidence.

6. PRISMA Statement

This website takes you through the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA), including a potted history and the reporting guidance in full. You can also follow them on Twitter (@PRISMAStatement).

7. BMJ: How to read a paper: papers that summarise other papers

The British Medical Journal has produced a series of open access papers on how to critically appraise medical evidence. Trisha Greenhalgh has contributed this accessible essay on how to read systematic reviews and meta-analyses.

8. SCIE systematic research reviews: guidelines (2nd Edition)

The Social Care Institute for Excellence has created this guidance document to aid systematic reviews in the social care field. Topics covered include how to form a review team, transparency and replicability and economic evaluation.

9. Understanding systematic reviews and meta-analysis

A.K. Akobeng’s open access paper from the Archives of Disease in Childhood  journal provides an introduction to the issues with traditional narrative reviews, and the role of systematic reviews in limited bias in the synthesis of studies. Terms such as odds ratios, relative risk, confidence intervals and the forest plot are explained.

10. Methodology in conducting a systematic review of systematic reviews of healthcare interventions

This paper by Valerie Smith, Declan Devane, Cecily M. Begley and Mike Clarke was published by BMC Medical Research Methodology in 2011. It explains how to produce an overview of systematic reviews, where several reviews in a related area are brought together, appraised and summarised in a single place.