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Writing the systematic review

While the writing process for a systematic review is generally like writing any other kind of review, there are several aspects to note. 

In writing the systematic review you should provide an answer to the research question.

Careful documentation of the methodology is important as it should outline the search process and the selection process. A reader should understand why sources were chosen, how they were assessed, and how conclusions were reached.

The structure of the systematic literature will differ from the traditional (or narrative) literature review as it should reflect the stages outlined in the protocol. Refer to the 27 item PRISMA checklist to see what should be addressed in the protocol.

The value of a systematic review is the critical reflection and interpretation of the findings. 

Activity

To see how a systematic review is written check out examples of published papers and/or completed theses.

  1. Find a systematic review by searching a database and examine how the review has been written. For example, search the PubMed database on your topic and filter results by article type’ selecting systematic reviews.
  2. Find a systematic review paper by searching with the words systematic review in the RMIT Research Repository. Consider adding an additional topic word.
  3. Ask your supervisor if they can recommend a completed thesis that includes a systematic review

The following image shows how to search the Research Repository for a thesis with a systematic review if an author’s name is unknown. In the search box include a topic along with the words systematic review and select ‘Dissertations & Theses’ from the drop-down menu.

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