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Systematic review writing

Systematic review writing


Our previous blog was on types of review, here we will discuss about systematic review writing in detail

What is systematic review?

A systematic review is a rigorous approach that is based on a specific problem and uses specified exclusion and inclusion criteria, planned methods, selecting, evaluating, and combining a summary of different studies with similar findings. The critical requirements of systematic review are the detailed and in-depth assessment of the qualitative and quantitative key points as well as consistency of research studies. SR is similar to other research articles in that it includes an introduction, method, results, and discussion sections. The only difference is that SR has data derived from published or completed reports or studies, and they use a systematic approach to do so.

Systematic review writing is a complex process, and our article goal is to help you understand the standard procedures and guidelines to follow when conducting a systematic review.

Steps of systematic review 

Formulate question for systematic review 

Before beginning to write the review, the question should be clear, structured, and unambiguous. To conduct a relevant review, questions can be broad or narrow in scope.

There are frameworks for systematic reviews and their sections based on the field of research, the nature of the questions, and the data requirements. PICO is the most commonly used framework in the clinical field (Patient, intervention, comparison, outcome). Similarly, SPIDER (sample, phenomenon of interest, design, evaluation, research type) is also used for qualitative evidence reviews and there are many more.

Search of relevant article

A variety of resources (different databases) should be used to select a study with a comprehensive approach. The selection process should be based on the question that has been developed in advance for systematic review writing. Purposes for inclusion and exclusion must be described. Searching for a relevant article is a complex process; librarians and others with information-based knowledge can assist in developing a search strategy The search strategy should be designed to bring back literature that meets the protocol’s inclusion and exclusion criteria. All databases and citation indices used in the search should be mentioned in the methodology section of the systematic review. Each included study may be assigned an objective assessment of methodological quality, using the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) statement or the Cochrane high-quality standards. The Systematic review search includes scholarly databases of peer-reviewed articles such as MEDLINE, Web of Science, Embase, and PubMed, as well as sources of unpublished literature such as clinical trial registries and grey literature collections. According to AMSTAR guidelines, at least two databases must be included when searching for systematic reviews and meta-analyses, but as the number of databases searched increases, so do the chances of receiving more accurate and comprehensive results.It is recommended that you use multiple search terms and use the advanced search feature when searching for data.

Assessing the quality of studies 

Following the selection of studies, they should be subjected to a more refined quality check using critical appraisal guides and design-based quality checklists.This step is thrilling at the same time exhausting and requires more patience with lots of enough time. You may be concerned about the additional information you have and how to orchestrate it.

Summarizing the evidences 

The overall finding of the systematic review should be represented in the form of a table that includes author information, findings, scope, year of publication, and a common conclusion based on the body of evidence. Many factors, such as the nature of the data, the method of analysis, and the guidelines, will influence how your results are represented. Although these will have been mentioned in the research design or protocol, there may be unexpected challenges that you’ll have to discuss, describe, and explain in the review.

Interpret the finding

Heterogeneity should be investigated to determine whether or not the evidence-based summary is reliable, and if not, the findings of high-quality studies can be used to draw conclusions.

How to draft systematic review as manuscript

A systematic review is typically written under the following headings:

Abstract: The abstract should be structured

Introduction: The introduction section sums up the topic as well as why the review was conducted, and also the review’s purpose and goal.

Methods: The methodology section of a systematic review is critical. Whatever methodology and other criteria were used in the review should be discussed clearly and unequivocally. The following elements should be thoroughly discussed.

  1. Literature Search
  2. Study Selection
  3. Data Extraction
  4. Risk of Bias Assessment
  5. Data Synthesis

Results: The result section should be explained logically. Begin by explaining the search result, then move on to the scope of the study and its characteristics, and finally discuss the effect of the finding’s intervention.

Discussion: The discussion section of the systematic review summarizes the findings, discusses the study’s limitations, and explains the significance of the results.

References Add references with care, not missing a single one, and arrange them with the help of reference manager software.

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