"A systematic review attempts to collate all empirical evidence that fits pre-specified eligibility criteria in order to answer a specific research question. It uses explicit, systematic methods that are selected with a view to minimizing bias, thus providing more reliable findings from which conclusions can be drawn and decisions made (Antman 1992, Oxman 1993). The key characteristics of a systematic review are:
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; and
Higgins, Julian. Cochrane Handbook for Systematic Reviews of Interventions. Hoboken, NJ, USA: John Wiley & Sons, 2009. ProQuest ebrary.
Andrea Goldstein Shipper
Health Sciences and Human Services Library, University of Maryland