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Doing a Systematic Review

A concise guide to the steps involved in systematic, scopic and related reviews

Synthesising your results

Once you have selected the most reliable and relevant studies and extracted information from them, you will need to pull all the findings together using textual or statistical methods. YOU SHOULD TALK TO YOUR SUPERVISOR ABOUT THIS. Unfortunately, the Library cannot offer personal assistance on this element of your review, but we may well have useful books if ones are recommended to you.

The following links can also give guidance.

Using the PRISMA checklist and flowchart to report your review

PRISMA (Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses) provides a structured approach to reporting systematic reviews (and meta-analyses). There is a checklist outlining the sections to include in your report, and a flow diagram to record the number of records retained at each step in the review process.

Current PRISMA flow diagram

A new version of the PRISMA guidelines and flow diagram was published in 2021. The diagram is more comprehensive than the previous version and should be used by research students and staff when publishing systematic reviews. There are four versions of the template: two for new systematic reviews (one for studies just including database/register searches and one for studies including more extensive searches of other sources); two for updated systematic reviews (with the same coverage distinction).

Previous version of the PRISMA flow diagram

The PRISMA flow diagram used prior to 2021 was simpler and may be more suitable for undergraduate and Masters' level systematic reviews (check with your supervisor which version they would like you to use).