Skip to Main Content

Systematic and Literature Reviews


Systematic Review guides

Cochrane Handbook for Systematic Reviews of Interventions

Joanna Briggs Institute Reviewer's Manual

The National Academies, Health and Medicine Division - Standards for Systematic Reviews

Covidence Academy



Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analysis — Open & Free. The Campbell Collaboration and the Open Learning Initiative host free this course which goes through all the stages of the systematic review process. While it is oriented towards social, behavioural and educational topics the content is applicable to any biomedical topic.


Reporting and methodology standards

PRISMA (Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses) describes the items that should be reported to ensure the quality of the systematic review. It has recently been updated.

Available as checklist and flow diagram.

There is PRISMA guidance on reporting systematic review protocols, systematic reviews and scoping reviews. There are specific extensions for reviews on harms, diagnostic test accuracy, networked meta-analyses and for reporting searches.

The PRISMA 2020 statement: an updated guideline for reporting systematic reviews. BMJ.

PRISMA 2020 explanation and elaboration: updated guidance and exemplars for reporting systematic reviews . BMJ.

AMSTAR 2 - checklist for assessing the quality of systematic reviews.



Protocols cab be registered at:


Levels of evidence

GRADE. The Grading of Recommendations, Assessment, Development and Evaluations (GRADE) Working Group is a multi-disciplinary group whose aim is to encourage consistent and transparent evaluation of evidence and formation of recommendations.

GRADE approach to evaluating the quality of evidence: a pathway. Online learning on using GRADE from the Cochrane Library.



Ten Simple Rules for Writing a Literature Review. Article.

How to do a systematic review. International Journal of Stroke, 2018.

A 24-step guide on how to design, conduct, and successfully publish a systematic review and meta-analysis in medical research. European Journal of Epidemiology, 2019.

A systematic approach to searching: an efficient and complete method to develop literature searches.Journal of the Medical Library Association. 2018. Article describing steps to create comprehensive search strategy

Putting the ‘systematic’ into searching – tips and resources for search strategies in systematic reviewsJournal of Hand Surgery. 2018.

Searching clinical trials registers: guide for systematic reviewers. BMJ 2022

Systematic Reviews: A Social Work PerspectiveAustralian Social Work, 2015. 

Systematic review or scoping review? Guidance for authors when choosing between a systematic or scoping review approach. BMC Medical Research Methodology. 2018

The Mass Production of Redundant, Misleading, and Conflicted Systematic Reviews and Meta-analyses. Ioannidis J. P. (2016). The Milbank Quarterly, 94(3), 485–514. Article.



The Joanna Briggs Institute has a You Tube channel exploring aspects of systematic reviews and evidence syntheses.



The SR Toolbox - comprehensive list of tools and links to use in all stages of the review process.

SR Accelerator  includes an de-duplicating function, word frequency analyzer and conversion of search strategy between databases.

CitationChaser identifies citations of articles and allows bulk download.