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Literature Searching: Advanced Searching: Systematic Reviews

Follow our step-by-step guide to help you carry out a good literature search

Systematic Reviews

Systematic Review

A thorough literature review focussing on a particular subject. A systematic review identifies, appraises, selects and synthesizes all high quality research evidence relevant to the subject.


TRIP - Turning Research Into Practice

TRIP looks for evidence-based resources
–Practice guidelines (SIGN, NICE)
–Patient information
–Clinical Questions
Provides a Google-style tool for drawing out resources across several areas



•About quantities

–Things that can be measured, i.e. age, Body Mass Index, blood pressure, temperature
•Usually numerical data


•About qualities

–Things that can’t easily be measured, i.e.  attitudes, emotions, responses
•Usually non-numerical data

Types of Evidence

Local guidelines (NHS Fife/NHS Tayside?)
–National guidelines (SIGN, NICE, searchable via TRIP)
•Systematic reviews or Meta-analyses (Cochrane or TRIP)
–Randomised controlled trials (Cochrane, TRIP & others)
»Cohort studies, case studies, opinion (Journal articles via Library Search & CINAHL)

Appraising the evidence

Use these protocols to evaluate the quality of particular types of evidence

Meta Analysis


A statistical technique combining results from multiple studies. A meta-analysis improve estimates of the size of the effect and/or to resolve issues when papers reach different conclusions.




An in-depth source of Systematic Reviews & meta-analyses

•Randomised controlled trials
•Assessment of trial methodologies
•Assessment of health technologies
•Assessment of economic impact of treatments