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Conducting a Systematic Review: A Practical Guide

  • Freya MacMillan
  • Kate A. McBride
  • Emma S. George
  • Genevieve Z. Steiner
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Abstract

It can be challenging to conduct a systematic review with limited experience and skills in undertaking such a task. This chapter provides a practical guide to undertaking a systematic review, providing step-by-step instructions to guide the individual through the process from start to finish. The chapter begins with defining what a systematic review is, reviewing its various components, turning a research question into a search strategy, developing a systematic review protocol, followed by searching for relevant literature and managing citations. Next, the chapter focuses on documenting the characteristics of included studies and summarizing findings, extracting data, methods for assessing risk of bias and considering heterogeneity, and undertaking meta-analyses. Last, the chapter explores creating a narrative and interpreting findings. Practical tips and examples from existing literature are utilized throughout the chapter to assist readers in their learning. By the end of this chapter, the reader will have the knowledge to conduct their own systematic review.

Keywords

Systematic review Search strategy Risk of bias Heterogeneity Meta-analysis Forest plot Funnel plot Meta-synthesis 

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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Freya MacMillan
    • 1
  • Kate A. McBride
    • 2
  • Emma S. George
    • 3
  • Genevieve Z. Steiner
    • 4
  1. 1.School of Science and Health and Translational Health Research InstituteSydneyAustralia
  2. 2.Translational Health Research InstituteWestern Sydney UniversitySydneyAustralia
  3. 3.School of Science and HealthWestern Sydney UniversitySydneyAustralia
  4. 4.NICM and Translational Health Research Institute (THRI), Western Sydney UniversitySydneyAustralia

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