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The slides for a interactive workshop presented as part of the Smart Researcher Workshop series at Stellenbosch University Library.

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Systematic Reviews
PeplerHead
FacultyLibrarian:EconomicandManagementSciences
ElizabethMoll-Willard
FacultyLibrarian:Agrisciences
2
What we’ll discuss
• What is a Systematic Review (SR)
• Protocol overview
• Why and when to conduct a SR
• Types of reviews
• Steps in the SR process
• Searching and documenting
• Reporting/Write up
3
Definition
“Review of the literature that is conducted systematically,
using explicit, accountable methods” (Gough, Oliver &
Thomas, 2012)
"Systematic review describes a specific methodology for
conducting reviews of literature. This methodology
prescribes explicit, reproducible, and transparent
processes for collating the best available evidence in
answer to specific questions” (Lewis-Beck, Bryman & Liao,
2004)
4
Protocol
You’ll need a protocol to follow to complete your
systematic review
• Roadmap of the steps you need
• It sets out your methodology for your study
• The recipe of how the review will be
conducted
• Ensures transparency & reproducibility
• A good basic example is the PRISMA protocol
which is a generic one for all systematic
reviews and meta-analyses
5
Protocol
6
Reviews can inform us about…
• What is known
• How it is known
• How this knowledge varies across studies
• What is known from previous research
Why & When

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Systematic Review

  • 2. 2 What we’ll discuss • What is a Systematic Review (SR) • Protocol overview • Why and when to conduct a SR • Types of reviews • Steps in the SR process • Searching and documenting • Reporting/Write up
  • 3. 3 Definition “Review of the literature that is conducted systematically, using explicit, accountable methods” (Gough, Oliver & Thomas, 2012) "Systematic review describes a specific methodology for conducting reviews of literature. This methodology prescribes explicit, reproducible, and transparent processes for collating the best available evidence in answer to specific questions” (Lewis-Beck, Bryman & Liao, 2004)
  • 4. 4 Protocol You’ll need a protocol to follow to complete your systematic review • Roadmap of the steps you need • It sets out your methodology for your study • The recipe of how the review will be conducted • Ensures transparency & reproducibility • A good basic example is the PRISMA protocol which is a generic one for all systematic reviews and meta-analyses
  • 6. 6 Reviews can inform us about… • What is known • How it is known • How this knowledge varies across studies • What is known from previous research Why & When
  • 7. 7 We need Reviews because… • Any research study may be fallible • Any research may have limited scope • Provides a wider picture based on all the research • Keeping abreast of all research is cumbersome • Undertaking new primary studies without being informed may result in unnecessary, inappropriate, irrelevant, or unethical research. Why & When
  • 8. 8 When Systematic Reviews are needed? • Uncertainty about the topic or intervention • Evidence of topic or intervention is needed • A lot of research, but still unanswered questions • Overview of a topic • Accurate picture of past research Why & When
  • 9. 9 Types of Reviews Traditional literature reviews Systematic reviews Meta-analyses Present research findings related to a specific topic Methodical literature search, with clear purpose Methodical literature search, with clear purpose Summarize what is known, to contextualise a study Provides evidence of search strategy and studies selected Provides evidence of search strategy and studies selected Provide details of studies that are considered important, without explaining why The search becomes the method with the ultimate aim of synthesizing what is found, discovered The search becomes the method with the ultimate aim of synthesizing what is found, discovered Qualitative reporting of results – written summary / narrative Quantitative reporting of results – combining data to answer questions previous studies didn’t ask
  • 10. 10 Important to remember Remember • Has its origin in Health Sciences • Relatively new in other disciplines • Not equally developed in all areas of research – E.G. MeSH terms (may cause confusion) • MeSH terms only in PubMed & Medical databases
  • 11. Scenario 1 11 While testing your search phrase, you find very little or no information on your subject. What do you do?
  • 12. Scenario 2 12 When conducting your searching for a meta- analyses, you do find sufficient information, but not a lot of data out of the resources (documents/papers). What now?
  • 13. Steps in the SR 13
  • 14. 14 Getting started: Whatever the question, always start with the considerations of the phenomenon, topic, issue or question that you want to answer, and responsibilities of the team/reviewer Step 1: Research questions
  • 15. 15 Your Turn: Write down your research question and any sub- objectives that impact your search strategy Remember: you can have separate search strategies for different sub-objectives if needed, BUT it must relate to your main research question. Step 1: Research questions
  • 16. 16 Searching for studies • Each electronic source (database) is different and may require its own search string • Search strategy must be tested beforehand for efficacy • A log of searches must be kept, as well as the number of results Step 2: Identification
  • 17. 17 Searching for studies • Log must include: ü Where search is conducted ü Search parameters (strategy) ü When the search was conducted ü Number of results Keep in mind – identification from other methods, reference list & citation scanning Step 2: Identification
  • 19. 19 Searching: • The goal here is an exhaustive search by means of an inclusive search strategy to remove unwanted bias from your results • Searching exhaustively attempts to minimize publication bias Step 2: Identification
  • 20. 20 Search limitations: • Even exhaustive searches are less likely to find negative and non-statistically significant results • Lack of access to information (the entire information universe) • Important to search grey literature (reports, theses, etc.) – discipline dependent Step 2: Identification
  • 21. 21 Types of sources: • Academic databases • Specialist databases • Specialist registries • Organizations • Internet • Hand searching books & journals • Reference list & Citation searching/scanning Step 2: Identification
  • 22. 22 Live Demonstration: • Example of what a search strategy might look like and how to capture information • Scopus searching • Grey literature Step 2: Identification
  • 23. 23 Your turn: Conduct a search in a database using your search strategy and log it accordingly in the worksheet provided. Remember: This is just to practice, if you struggle with your search strategy, see your librarian after this session! Step 2: Identification
  • 24. 24 Screening - Inclusion/exclusion criteria • Decide what is relevant for your review • Applied to search results • Applied to full text resources • Criteria could include: • Specific dates • Unobtainable full text documents • Language (English only) Step 3: Screening
  • 25. 25 Step 3: Screening Find full text of all relevant resources • Keep track of items removed due to irrelevance (screen again) • Also keep track of which sources are ‘in file’, ‘on order’ & ‘not available’ • Interlibrary loan service available for full text delivery
  • 26. 26 Live Demonstration. Scopus (effect OR impact) AND (“canopy position” OR maturity OR storage) AND Mealiness AND (pear OR “forelle pear” OR “Pyrus Communis L.”) Grey (intitle:effect OR intitle:impact) AND (intitle:“canopy position” OR intitle:maturity OR intitle:storage) AND mealiness AND (pear OR “forelle pear” OR “Pyrus Communis L.”) Step 3: Screening
  • 27. 27 Your turn: Identify criteria for inclusion or exclusion for your study and add it to your worksheet. Step 3: Screening
  • 28. 28 Step 4: Included Inclusion and synthesis • Final number of resources determined • Text analysis for patterns, themes, etc. OR statistical analysis • Answering your research question • MS Excel, R, RevMan, Rayyan, Mendeley, Atlas.ti (Atlas.ti available at SU)
  • 29. 29 The write up Most reviews follow a basic IMRD structure: Introduction Methods Results Discussion
  • 32. 32 Examples of write up Reason for study/review Research Questions stand central!
  • 33. 33 Examples of write up Justification – Database selection, search string development, inclusion/exclusion criteria, additional searching (bibliography scanning)
  • 34. 34 Examples of write up Unpacks each step of the review in the results, reporting screening process, data analysis etc.
  • 35. 35 Examples of write up Discussion of themes as part of results
  • 36. 36 Examples of write up Usually aspects of your inclusion/exclusion or replicability issues, for instance, when using Google or Google Scholar
  • 38. 38 Examples of write up Immediately jumps into what the study’s aims are
  • 39. 39 Examples of write up The literature review unpacks the various research questions
  • 40. 40 Examples of write up In the case of this article, each step of the SR process is unpacked in the methods, where the SR is also justified
  • 41. 41 Examples of write up Followed by the findings, and unpacking of the trends
  • 42. 42 Examples of write up Finally, the limitations
  • 43. 43 Help Speak to your Faculty Librarian – effective searching, source selection, where to publish Writing Lab for structure and flow Centre for Statistical Consultation – statistical analysis

Editor's Notes

  1. Elizabeth
  2. Pepler
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  34. Elizabeth