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Lesson Resources


The following resources have been designed to provide you with a step-by-step guide to conducting a systematic literature review. An individual systematic literature review is one of your assessment topics for PSYP8910. (You can also check last year's Video presentation from July 2021 (49:19) and the accompanying Slides can be found in the link above.

READ (50 MINUTES) Access the Systematic Review LibGuide and read the following required readings:

WATCH AND HAVE A GO (50 MINUTES) Now see how to conduct your own search by watching the videos below and responding to the questions after each video.

VIDEO 1: Developing search terms (4:17)

  1. What’s your research topic?
  2. What’s your PICO?
  3. Prepare your own table (Concept Grid) and generate possible alternatives for your search terms.

VIDEO 2: Preliminary Scoping search (7:19)

  1. Find OVID Medline in the library catalogue
  2. Enter your proposed search terms to get some preliminary results. How many articles did you find?
  3. Find an intervention that matches the types of article you’d most like to find
  4. Got questions? Note them down.

VIDEO 3: Finding more terms for the Concept Grid (5:43)​

Pull out the table you created after viewing Video 1.

  1. Locate your preferred article after viewing Video 2
  2. Are there new MeSH subjects you can add to your search? How many articles do you have now?
  3. Find 5 articles from your list that match the types of interventions you are interested in and identify additional MeSH terms to add to your search. How many articles now?
  4. Got questions? Write them down.

VIDEO 4: MEDLINE (Ovid) Search (12:35)

ENGAGE (50 MINUTES) : Log on to the Zoom session to connect with Jane, Ray and your classmates. Have your questions ready to ask.

PRISMA Guidelines – Inclusion and Exclusion Criteria and Processing Results

  • Inclusion and Exclusion criteria (specific parameters of the topic)

Meline, T. (2006). Selecting studies for systemic review: inclusion and exclusion criteria. Contemporary issues in communication science and disorders, 33(Spring), 21-27. 

  • Screening the results

Polanin, J. R., Pigott, T. D., Espelage, D. L., & Grotpeter, J. K. (2019). Best practice guidelines for abstract screening large‐evidence systematic reviews and meta‐analyses. Research Synthesis Methods, 10(3), 330-342

  • Using EndNote to assist screening process

  • PRISMA diagram

  • Documenting Your Search

Writing Your Review

When writing up your systematic review keep in mind the specific guidelines for structuring your review. Systematic review standards are elements that should be reported in any published systematic review. Also there may be other 'Instructions to Authors' provided by the journals or organisations in which you plan to publish.

The PRISMA statement can be followed to ensure reliable coverage of the systematic review methods, results and conclusions. The PRISMA Elaboration and Explanation (E&E) document that accompanies the PRISMA statement provides instructions for each of the items on the checklist.



The following are a selection of the OVID training videos likely to be most useful for you (though some of these are very detailed) and one University of Otago subject guide:

What are Systematic Reviews?

Systematic Reviews (SRs) aim to find and evaluate all studies, published and unpublished, relevant to a research question. They use systematic methods to minimise bias and they also use transparent methods that allow for replication and verification.

Key characteristics are:

  • a clearly stated research question with pre-defined eligibility criteria for studies
  • an explicit, reproducible methodology
  • a comprehensive search strategy that attempts to identify all studies that would meet the eligibility criteria
  • an appraisal of the validity of the findings of the included studies, for example through the assessment of risk of bias
  • a synthesis and interpretation of the findings of the included studies (Cochrane Handbook for Systematic Reviews of Interventions, 2008, p. 6)

Meta-analysis is a systematic review that uses quantitative methods to synthesise and summarise the results.