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Systematic Review Resources

What is a Systematic Review?

Cochrane Collaboration: "A review of a clearly formulated question that uses systematic and explicit methods to identify, select, and critically appraise relevant research, and to collect and analyse data from the studies that are included in the review. Statistical methods (meta-analysis) may or may not be used to analyse and summarise the results of the included studies." From the Cochrane Handbook

National Health Service: What is a Systematic Review?    What is Meta-Analysis?

Campbell Collaboration: What is a Systematic Review?

Where Do I Find Systematic Reviews?

Linking to the Cochrane Databases and PubMed through the Health Sciences Library Databases ensures you have access to the full text of systematic reviews and articles, when available.

Campbell Collaboration an international research network that produces systematic reviews of the effects of social interventions focusing on education, crime and justice, and social welfare.

Centre for Reviews and Dissemination
CRD databases are updated daily and provide decision-makers with access to: quality assessed systematic reviews, economic evaluations, summaries of health technology assessments, summaries of all Cochrane reviews and protocols, and summaries of Campbell reviews.

Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews (CDSR) includes the full text of regularly updated systematic reviews of the effects of healthcare prepared by The Cochrane Collaboration.

Database of Abstracts of Reviews of Effects (DARE) covers a broad range of health related interventions and complements the CDSR by quality-assessing and summarizing reviews that have not yet been carried out by the Cochrane Collaboration. Each abstract includes a summary of the review together with a critical commentary about the overall quality.

PubMed (Medline) both the full PubMed database and the PubMed Clinical Queries tool may be used to locate systematic reviews. The Clinical Queries tool retreives citations identified as systematic reviews, meta-analyses, reviews of clinical trials, evidence-based medicine, consensus development conferences, guidelines, and citations to articles from journals specializing in review studies of value to clinicians.

Where Do I Find Studies to Include in a Systematic Review?

Trial Registers
: a registry of federally and privately supported clinical trials conducted in the United States and around the world.

Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials (CENTRAL)
includes details of published articles taken from bibliographic databases (notably MEDLINE and EMBASE), and other published and unpublished sources, including all Cochrane Review Groups' Specialised Registers and the handsearch results register.

Current Controlled Trials metaRegister of Controlled Trials (mRCT)
The metaRegister of Controlled Trials ( mRCT) provides access to major registers, making it one of the largest controlled trials resources in the world. Although its primary aim is to include information about ongoing controlled trials, it includes some completed trials.

GlaxoSmithKline Clinical Study Register
summary protocol information for GSK sponsored clinical studies.

IFPMA Clinical Trials Portal
International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers & Associations’  new and ongoing clinical trials of members’ products.

World Health Organization International Clinical Trials Registry Platform Search Portal
information about ongoing and completed international clinical trials.

Collaborate with a Librarian

Library Liaison Program
Literature Search Request
Request a Consultation with a Librarian

Several recent reports have recommended the inclusion of expert searcher librarians on systematic review research teams.

A major part of the systematic review methodology is the conduct of an extensive search which is exhaustive in its reach and doesn't miss relevant articles. Librarians are especially equipped to develop and execute systematic review search strategies as suggested by guidelines and standards set forth:

Librarians at the NYMC Health Sciences Library are looking for opportunities to collaborate with researchers on systematic review projects both:   
1.   As an integral part of the research and planning team. The librarians collaborate with the team to develop a search relevant to the question, execute searches in multiple relevant databases; manage search results; facilitate a process for document retrieval; provide a means and home for sharing and scoring of studies by the research team (probably using bibliographic management software such as RefWorks or EndNote and other collaborative technologies); and/or write/co-author the methodology portion of any resulting manuscript. In this case the librarian would be a co-author on resulting publication(s).

2.  By providing support. Librarians can review search strategies and/or make suggestions for databases to search; provide recommended search terms/subject headings respective to selected databases; provide technical support and assistance; and facilitate retrieval of documents. In this situation it would be appropriate to provide an acknowledgement to the librarian or library in any resulting publication.            

To discuss the possibility of working with a Librarian contact:
Deborah Crooke (914) 594-4203
Marie Ascher (914) 594-3168
Diana Cunningham (914) 594-4207

Recent Systematic Reviews at NYMC

Aronow, W. S. (2014). Meta-analysis finds benefit for dual antiplatelet therapy but limitations preclude changing standard mono antiplatelet therapy approach for acute non-cardioembolic ischaemic stroke or transient ischaemic attack. Evidence-Based Medicine,doi:10.1136/eb-2013-101649; 10.1136/eb-2013-101649

Citrome, L. (2014). Vortioxetine for major depressive disorder: A systematic review of the efficacy and safety profile for this newly approved antidepressant - what is the number needed to treat, number needed to harm and likelihood to be helped or harmed?International Journal of Clinical Practice, 68(1), 60-82. doi:10.1111/ijcp.12350; 10.1111/ijcp.12350


Logging in to the following databases through the Health Sciences Library Databases ensures you have access to the full text of articles, when available.

Cumulative Index to Nursing and Allied Health Literature (CINAHL) nursing and allied health disciplines, including health administration.

EMBASE biosciences coverage specializing in pharmaceutical information. Although the Health Sciences Library does not have access to EMBASE, we do have Scopus, which contains the contents of EMBASE (minus the EMBASE Thesaurus).

PubMed/ MEDLINE National Library of Medicine's biosciences database covering medicine, nursing, dentistry, veterinary medicine, health care systems, and preclinical sciences.  The Health Sciences Library provides access to PubMed and multiple MEDLINE interfaces.

PsycINFO psychology and related fields.

Scopus a large multidisciplinary database which contains the contents of PubMed and EMBASE without the detailed subject indexing or customized interfaces.

Web of Science (Science Citation Index and Social Science Citation Index) SCI  covers medical and life sciences, and other sciences. SSCI includes economics, education, health sciences, social policy and social work.

Specialty Databases:

Some systematic review topics will be covered by subject specific databases. Freely available databases such as Agricola (agriculture, including animal sciences, human nutrition, environmental sciences and more); Basic Medical Sciences Databases; ERIC (education) and others may be appropriate depending on your topic. A database not available to affiliates of New York Medical College can be searched by a librarian through Dialogfor associated fees.

Guides and Resources

Centre for Reviews and Dissemination Systematic Reviews: CRD’s Guidance for Undertaking Reviews in Health Care  provides practical guidance for undertaking systematic reviews evaluating the effects of health interventions.

Centre for Reviews and Dissemination
PROSPERO the first open access online facility to prospectively register systematic reviews.

Cochrane Collaboration Cochrane Handbook for Systematic Reviews of Interventions  provides guidance to authors for the preparation of Cochrane Intervention reviews

National Academies Press Finding What Works in Healthcare: Standards for Systematic Reviews21 standards from the Institutes of Medicine for developing high-quality systematic reviews of comparative effectiveness research.

PRISMA (Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses)  an evidence-based minimum set of items for reporting in systematic reviews and meta-analyses. The aim of the PRISMA Statement is to help authors improve the reporting of systematic reviews and meta-analyses.

Evidence-Based Behavioral Practice Introduction to Systematic Reviews  funded by the National Library of Medicine, EBBP creates training resources to help bridge the gap between behavioral health research and practice.

Health Sciences Library Tip Sheets and Tutorials

Library Tip Sheets and Online Tutorials information, instruction and short videos demonstrating Library resources.

D. Crooke 1/23/14

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