Gather and synthesize homogenous studies in order to provide a single summary of available evidence, frequently to answer a clinical question.
|Review existing literature on a topic, generally conducted when literature is diverse in type (heterogenous) or in its nascency when more specific questions are unanswerable.
|Gather and synthesize both empirical and theoretical evidence relevant to a clearly defined problem.
|Very specific, frequently
following a framework
|More important to have a stated problem. It is not always in the form of a question.
|Defined study types, ideally homogenous in design
|All types, depending
on the research
|Empirical and theoretical literature
|Optional, depends on review objectives
Outcomes must be extracted. Other data items will vary depending on review objectives but often contain details about the research design and/or methods.
|Data items will vary depending on review objectives.
|Data items will vary depending on review objectives
Not sure which review type is right for your research question? Check out the links below for help choosing.
Steps in a Systematic/Scoping/Integrative Review
Creating an effective search for a systematic review means walking a tightrope between comprehensiveness and managability. You want to try to include all of the studies that could possibly be relevant while simultaneously getting your search results down to a number of articles that you can realistically review.
The Basic Process:
Before beginning your review, you need to be sure that no other reviews with the same research question as yours already exist or are in progress. This is easily done by searching research databases and protocol registries.
It is a good idea to familiarize yourself with the standards and reporting guidelines for the type of review you are planning to do. Following the standards/guidelines as you plan and execute your review will help ensure that you minimize bias and maximize your chances of getting published.