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Systematic Review

Systematic Reviews are an increasingly important publication type for making informed health policy and patient care decisions. They are labor intensive, but synthesize and summarize existing information.

Systematic Review Assistance from UCSF Library

Why are we having you read this document?

The blunt answer is that we do not want to waste your time or ours.

We have many requests for systematic review (SR) assistance based on misunderstandings. Many students and their advisers do not understand what a SR is and the very large amount of work it entails for all involved.

Systematic reviews are incredibly time consuming and doomed to failure if not carefully thought through and set up to succeed from the beginning.

Why are you trying to discourage me about writing a systematic review?

We are not, we wish you to go into it with your eyes open, and we wish you to succeed!

Experts in systematic reviews recommend librarian involvement from the outset. Roles for the librarian in SR include: participant in discussion of the “question”, development of PICO statement, identification and testing of search terms, identification of the best set of information resources for the question, scoping search, literature search, organizing search results in a reference manager, writing/co-writing methods section. Librarians may also help with article screening, data abstraction, and writing depending on topic and team.

We will not serve as administrative assistants or coordinators for the review, due to time constraints. We will not accept a pre-formulated search or a search term set and plug it into article databases. We are not able to help if you have already done your review and you just want someone to check that you did it right. It is too late then!

If you have gotten this far and remain interested, read on.

Please contact or with any questions as you read through this document.