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Nursing Programs

What is a Systematic Review?

Systematic Reviews (SR) are highly structured explorations of literature on a narrowly defined question or perspective. Their goal is to provide measurable answers concerning treatment, policy or intervention in the clinical setting or at the public policy level

Key characteristics:

  • a clearly defined research question and protocol (research plan)
  • inclusion and exclusion criteria
  • a rigorous and systematic search of the literature
  • critical appraisal and bias assessment of all included studies
  • analysis and interpretation of results
  • an in-depth report

Systematic reviews are undertaken by a research team, not an individual.  The team approach facilitates rapid reviewing and reduces bias.


Are a subset of systematic reviews, a statistical technique for combining the findings from quantitative studies to come up with new statistical conclusions.
  • Not all systematic reviews include meta-analysis, but all meta-analyses are found in systematic reviews.
  • Systematic Reviews with meta-analysis are statistically more robust than the analysis of a single study, as they look at more subjects, have excellent subject diversity and have more effects and results to consider
  • All included studies must be sufficiently similar for a meta-analysis to be valid.

American University of Beirut A Guide to Conducting Reviews: Meta-Analysis

Finding Systematic Reviews in the Library

The library provides access to many relevant systematic reviews from a range of publishers and organizations that will cost the American Sentinel student nothing more than their time and effort to access.

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