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Syracuse University Libraries

Systematic Reviews

General procedures to help guide researchers through the elements of a systematic review

Preliminary SR preparation is key to success!

Thinking that you want to conduct a systematic review (SR)? Successfully completing a(n) SR begins with a great deal of planning and forethought before you begin. This preliminary planning includes:

  • Pre-developing your research question. Consider using a question framework.
  • Who will work with you? SRs need a team of researchers (at least 3 people) with complimentary expertise to design a question, conduct a thorough and transferrable search (engage your librarian!), and help mitigate researcher biases.
  • Test your question. Is there a(n) SR out there already? Conduct a probing literature search to identify the databases that you need, test your question, and think about inclusion and exclusion criteria. Consider how you will document or log your searches as you go. This is tantamount to the reproducibility of your search strategy and is a hallmark of SRs.
  • Do you have enough time to complete the review? The time it takes to conduct each stage properly and within PRISMA guidelines may take longer than you think (approximately 18 months). 
  • Lastly, how will you manage this workflow? What tools do you have access to?

Want to talk with someone about this?

There are two options to engage:

1. Have you read through the other parts of this guide, but feel you just want to talk to someone about your ideas and this process? Please contact the Research Impact Team to set up a general consultation.


2. If you have a research plan developed already and you would like to include a librarian on your team, review the "Talk with a Librarian" tab and submit a proposal as directed.