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Searching for systematic reviews

This guide provides information on systematic review support available from UCL Library Services

Types of systematic review

The term 'systematic review' is often used quite broadly to represent various types of review at differing levels. You should consider the extent of the systematic review you are carrying out in order to inform your methodology and seek appropriate support from UCL Library Services.

  • High-level systematic review: A full systematic review aims to comprehensively identify, evaluate and integrate the findings of all relevant studies on a particular research question. It incorporates methodologies to minimise bias, including ensuring multiple reviewers are involved at various stages of the review process. The resulting output provides high level, unbiased evidence.
  • Mid-level systematic review: You may be required to undertake a systematic review as a piece of coursework, or as a part of your PhD or other research project. Requirements may vary, with some reviews requiring a thorough search for evidence and adherence to as many stages of the systematic review process as is practicable, while others may really be a systematic literature review. Where a systematic review is undertaken by an individual the risk of bias being introduced into the review cannot be minimised and these systematic reviews can therefore not be classified as a high-level evidence systematic review.
  • Light-level / systematic-style literature review: Where a rigorous and structured search strategy is required, but without necessarily attempting to include all available research on a particular topic, we define this as a systematic-style literature review, rather than a systematic review.