Introduction to Systematic Reviews
Systematic reviews are one type of evidence synthesis, which is the process of bringing information together from a variety of sources to inform debates and decisions in disciplines and public policy (Evidence Synthesis, the Royal Society). Other types of evidence syntheses are meta-analyses, scoping reviews, and narrative literature reviews. All evidence syntheses are characterized by rigor and transparency, but systematic reviews are the most intensive, involve the most team members, and usually take the most time (12 - 24 months). See Select a Review Type to learn more about the various kinds of evidence synthesis.
Systematic reviews were originally developed to give evidence-based answers about interventions in medicine, e.g., the efficacy of treatments and diagnostic tools. More recently, social sciences have adopted systematic reviews to answer research questions concerning best practices in psychology, education, and other areas of human behavior.
See the University of Toronto Health Science Library's Systematic Review Guide for a comprehensive guide to conducting systematic reviews.
For detailed workflows, see the resources below: