Systematic-style reviews answer a question by analysing and summarising all relevant literature. They are a valuable approach used in many disciplines.

These reviews have:

  • transparent, reproducible and auditable methods
  • a rigorous search designed to locate all eligible studies
  • predetermined criteria for including and excluding studies.

There are several different types that all follow a similar process.

Explore review types

Keep good records

PRISMA flow diagram example
PRISMA flow diagram example.

Good record keeping is essential. Accurate and complete records ensure your review is transparent, reproducible and auditable.

We recommend you set up a spreadsheet or table that lists:

  • where you searched, and when
  • keywords or phrases searched
  • search filters used, for example, limiting by publication type or year
  • number of results retrieved.


You will need to record the number of results from each database or source before removing duplicates and starting the screening process.

These numbers are usually reported in a PRISMA Flow Diagram.

PRISMA-S provide a checklist to ensure all aspects of your search are reported fully.

View the checklist

Understand the process

The process you follow depends on your review type. Speak with your supervisor or team leader to ensure you use the correct approach.

Plan and prepare

Define your question

Choose a review type

Gather the literature

Preregister your review protocol or plan

Screen the literature

Appraise, analyse and synthesise the literature

Write up and share results

Use tools to manage the process

For assistance with these tools refer to their self-help resources.


Defines minimum reporting standards for good quality reviews.

  • Use the checklist to ensure you meet these requirements.

Access the checklist

Systematic review accelerator

A suite of tools designed for health systematic reviews, useful for:

  • perfecting search strategies
  • screening support
  • review management.

Access SR-Accelerator

Systematic review toolbox

Search for tools to support systematic review tasks.

  • find software, including automation tools
  • access guidelines and standards.

Search for tools

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