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Literature Searching

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

What are systematic reviews?

A systematic review is an approach used in health, education and social policy (as part of evidence based policy or practice). It's much more than a 'literature review' - it follows a strict and rigorous methodology. The aim is to identify, select, synthesize and appraise all high quality research evidence relevant to a particular topic.

Five steps to writing a Systematic Review

1. Formulate your question.
2. Search for studies. 
3. Assess the quality of studies.
4. Summarise the evidence.
5. Interpret the findings.


Have a look at these links for further info:

EPPI Centre: What is a Systematic Review?

Bandolier: What is ...? A systematic review


Forgotten what a research term means? Have a look at NICE Glossary.

Using PRISMA for writing Systematic Reviews

Searching for systematic reviews

Cochrane  is the in-depth source of Systematic Reviews & meta-analyses, including: 

•Randomised controlled trials

•Assessment of trial methodologies

•Assessment of health technologies

•Assessment of economic impact of treatments

Evidently Cochrane

Screenshot of Evidently Cochrane logo with several associated symbols

Evidently Cochrane is a blog which makes Cochrane evidence accessible, encouraging discussion on new and updated health topics. Useful resource for anyone interested in finding quality evidence to inform decisions about health.

Campbell Collaborative

Screenshot of Campbell Collaborative logo

The Campbell Collaborative produces systematic reviews and other evidence synthesis for evidence-based policy and practice in in education and social policy.