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Systematic Review Service

Librarians enhance the quality of any literature review by designing comprehensive search strategies and implementing them on the appropriate platforms, setting the stage for searches that are transparent and reproducible. The UTM Library offers two levels of support:

Consultation Service:

  • Students meet with a librarian to discuss comprehensive search strategies for assignments, course-related projects (including ROP studies), or dissertations.
  • Scope of librarian involvement: Consultations describing the key features of a review type, starting points for protocols and database selection, discussion of search strategy and implementation.

Systematic Review Service:

The Systematic Review Service is for faculty-led teams that intend to work towards a publication.

Librarians can be collaborators and co-authors on systematic reviews. The team leader can expect them to create the search strategy, to conduct the searches, and to contribute to the Methodology section of any publication(s) resulting from the research effort.

This service is not intended to assist with course work or dissertation work. Please see the Consultation Service for that level of service.

Not Sure What You Need?

Selecting Literature Review Type

While not every literature review needs to be a systematic review, all reviews should be have a clear purpose, be carried out methodically, and have a defined protocol.

What type of a literature search or review do you need to carry out? Three common types are described in the Table below:

Question to Address Narrative Review Scoping Review Systematic Review
What is the purpose? Traces the development of a concept Finds gaps in a high-level literature "map" Answers a specific research question
What is the research question? A broad and comprehensive questions A broad question on the state of the field Exhaustive clinical or policy question: often framed using PICO/PECOS
Do I need a protocol?  It helps It helps Yes: Specific, formal protocols are a pre-requisite
What is my timeline?  Completion times vary Completion times vary Long-term commitment of up to several years
Do I have a team or am I working solo? May be completed solo May be completed solo A team is required
How much of the literature needs to be included? Requirements vary Comprehensive All of the relevant literature must be assessed for quality
Are there standards methods that need to be followed? Methodology is not standard A qualitative synthesis based on an exhaustive search Yes: quantitative and qualitative syntheses
Does my search need to be transparent and replicable?  It helps It helps Yes: it is a requirement