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Doing a Systematic Review

Doing a Systematic Review
A Student's Guide

December 2013 | 240 pages | SAGE Publications Ltd
If you are a Masters or a PhD student conducting a systematic review for your dissertation or thesis, then this is the book for you! Written by an expert team of authors with years of experience in conducting systematic reviews and supervising students doing systematic reviews, the book provides a roadmap to guide you through the process.

The book addresses the following questions:

- What's the best way to manage my review?

- How do I formulate an appropriate review question?

- How do I develop my search strategy?

- How do I get started on data extraction?

- How do I assess the quality of the studies I'm using?

- How can I analyse and synthesise my data?

- How should I write up the discussion and conclusion sections of my dissertation or thesis?

- Where should I publish my data?

Throughout the book, the authors make extensive use of questions posed by real students when carrying out reviews to help you through some of the challenges you may face. Like a team of supervisors in your pocket, this book will provide you with the tips and tools for a successful dissertation.

Rumona Dickson, M. Gemma Cherry and Angela Boland
Carrying Out a Systematic Review as a Master's Thesis
M. Gemma Cherry and Rumona Dickson
Defining My Review Question and Identifying Inclusion Criteria
Yenal Dundar and Nigel Fleeman
Developing My Search Strategy and Applying Inclusion Criteria
Janette Greenhalgh and Tamara Brown
Quality Assessment: Where Do I Begin?
Nigel Fleeman and Yenal Dundar
Data Extraction: Where Do I Begin?
Michaela Blundell
Understanding and Synthesizing My Numerical Data
M. Gemma Cherry
Writing My Discussion and Conclusions
M. Gemma Cherry, Elizabeth Perkins, Rumona Dickson and Angela Boland
Reviewing Qualitative Evidence
Angela Boland, Sophie Beale and M. Gemma Cherry
Systematically Reviewing Economic Evaluations
Gerlinde Pilkington and Juliet Hockenhull
Planning and Managing My Review


My bookshelves are already laden with "How to do it" books on systematic reviews – very few of these are readable, informative and useful. But what do I do when I need to inform tomorrow’s supervision meeting? Quite simply – I reach for this book!

Andrew Booth
Reader in Evidence Based Information Practice, School of Health and Related Research (ScHARR), University of Sheffield

The systematic review is frequently the pathway to the Master’s degree for many students, and often key to the development of a good research question.  Students often find the systematic critical review and synthesis of research relevant to their research question daunting. This text provides a clear roadmap for those engaging in the process. The text provides step-by-step guidance through the systematic review, providing strategies for success, with tables and process descriptions that are extremely useful. Chapters align with the steps in the process and address each component of the review with clarity and multiple examples. While other texts may provide a broad overview of the process, strengths of the current text include its attention to detail, its practical approach to situations that may occur in the process, and its inclusion of responses to questions frequently asked by students. This text fills a gap with a much-needed reference for students and professionals for whom research evaluation is integral to success.  

Susan S. Levy
School of Exercise and Nutritional Sciences, San Diego State University

This is an excellent book, ideally targeted at those undertaking systematic reviews for a Master’s thesis, but also hugely useful for PhD students.  It provides detailed information in accessible language presented in bite-sized chunks and thus can be used as a staged guide throughout the process.  A very useful addition to the literature and one which I will be recommending to colleagues and students.

Dr Annette Lankshear, Reader in Health Policy
SONMS, Cardiff University

Doing a Systematic Review is well-structured and tightly-packed with practical advice. It is a rare book which goes beyond the more general student textbooks on writing reviews. The book is particularly useful for postgraduate students for its focus on what the examiner wants, and offers a range of very practical snippets of information on the process of writing a review. It will also be a valuable resource for teachers wishing to improve their students’ writing, and for researchers who want to learn more about conducting a systematic review to a high standard.

Sophie Lecheler
Assistant Professor of Political Communication at the Amsterdam School of Communication Research

Excellent book, very useful and suitable for the novice systematic reviewer.

Professor Catherine Meads
Faculty of Health , Social Care & Education, Anglia Ruskin University
July 26, 2017

Sample Materials & Chapters

Chapter One: Carrying Out a Systematic Review

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