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How Do I Do a Systematic Review?

What is a systematic review?

"A scientific investigation that focuses on a specific question and that uses explicit, planned scientific methods to identify, select, assess, and summarize the findings of similar but separate studies. It may or may not include a quantitative synthesis of the results from separate studies (meta-analysis) depending on the available data."

Eden, J., Levit, L., Berg, A., & Morton, S. (Eds.). (2011). Finding what works in health care: standards for systematic reviews. National Academies Press.

Timeline for a Cochrane review Table used with permission. Green S, Higgins JPT (editors). Chapter 2: Preparing a Cochrane review. In: Higgins JPT, Green S (editors). Cochrane Handbook for Systematic Reviews of Interventions Version 5.1.0 (updated March 2011). The Cochrane Collaboration, 2011. Available from

Steps in the undertaking of a systematic review in orthopaedic surgery. Dario Sambunjak corresponding author and Miljenko Franić. PMC3291784

                   Month                 Activity

                   1 – 2                     Preparation of protocol.

                   3 – 8                     Searches for published and unpublished studies.

                   2 – 3                     Pilot test of eligibility criteria.

                   3 – 8                     Inclusion assessments.

                   3                          Pilot test of ‘Risk of bias’ assessment.

                   3 – 10                   Validity assessments.

                   3                          Pilot test of data collection.

                   3 – 10                   Data collection.

                   3 – 10                   Data entry.

                   5 – 11                   Follow up of missing information.

                   8 – 10                   Analysis.

                   1 – 11                   Preparation of review report.

                   12 –                      Keeping the review up-to-date.