Review articles synthesise information and presents it to the target reader. Reviews can be of two types: narrative or systematic. Narrative review has a flexible structure whereas systematic review has a pre-defined structure. Although narrative literature provides deeper knowledge about a specific research topic to your reader, it neither describe your methodological approach nor answers quantitative research questions. This is when the systematic review comes into the picture as it answers specific research questions. Although systematic review is widely conducted mostly in the medical field, these days it is gaining popularity in various fields such as social science etc. However, performing a system review is not an easy process. We make this process an easier one, we have mentioned a few tips which includes:
- Inclusion of research question – In a system review must start with a well-formulated research question. The research question should correspond with the objectives of your study and align with the methodology (relevant to the identification of literature sources and study inclusion & exclusion criteria). To save time check if the question is already published (eg: search in NHS EED which contains of abstracts of quality assessed economic evaluations). If you need any help in formulating the research question, take help from writers offering systematic literature review help.
- Locate data sources – This is a complex process. Use several sources to identify and retrieve scientific studies. The sources must include scientific databases, conference proceedings and relevant grey literature. Today the most important sources for data are electronic databases. (eg: Web of science: http://www.webofknowledge.com, EBSCO: http://search.ebscohost.com).
- Evaluate the studies – Use specific criteria to evaluate the validity of the collected studies. The evaluation criteria are: year of publication, number of citations, relevance of the article, study design, language of publication and conflict of issues.
- Data collection – The literature search process must be documented. Describe each study’s methodological approach and findings. Also, ensure that while analysing systematic reviews, you pay attention to the means that were used to gather the data for the purpose of data analysis. One of the methods that is used for this purpose includes PRISMA study flow diagram.
- Data analysis – Group the studies according to their methodological similarities. Statistical analysis & synthesis should include meta-analysis and numerical presentation of the data.
- Interpretation of results – The results obtained must be summarised in a structured form. Compare the qualitative and quantitative perspectives of the studies when interpreting the results. Tools such as CONSORT are used to interpret the results.
- Draw conclusions – After processing and interpretation of results, compare your results with the previous ones and draw the conclusions.
Get started with the writing process (if necessary take assistance from writers providing systematic literature review help) on the completion of systematic review process and publish your article which will then be scrutinised by the scientific community.