what is a systematic review

what is a systematic review

What is a systematic review
If you’re a Cochrane contributor and have ever attempted to explain Cochrane’s work to someone, chances are you’ve tried to answer this question. And if you’re reading this because you’re new to Cochrane and the work we do, you may be wondering about this too.
“What are systematic reviews?”

As well as illustrating knowledge about a particular intervention, systematic reviews can also show where knowledge is lacking. You can use this to guide future research.
A systematic review is a complex piece of research that aims to identify, select and synthesise all research published on a particular question or topic.

What is a systematic review
Systematic reviews with summaries will have a link directly below the bibliographic information (“Summary of this review”) as shown in the image. Simply click on the link to view the summary.
eLENA has been updated with a new feature providing convenient access to key elements of systematic reviews which serve as the evidence base for interventions featured in eLENA.

  • a clearly stated set of objectives with pre-defined eligibility criteria for studies
  • an explicit, reproducible methodology
  • a systematic search that attempts to identify all studies that would meet the eligibility criteria
  • an assessment of the validity of the findings of the included studies, for example through the assessment of risk of bias
  • a systematic presentation, and synthesis, of the characteristics and findings of the included studies. (Cochrane Handbook for Systematic Reviews of Interventions, 2008, p. 6)

Key characteristics of a systematic review are: