Systematic reviews have been considered as the pillar on which evidence-based healthcare rests. Systematic review methodology has evolved and been modified over the years to accommodate the range of questions that may arise in the health and medical sciences. This paper explores a concept still rarely considered by novice authors and in the literature: determining the type of systematic review to undertake based on a research question or priority.
Within the framework of the evidence-based healthcare paradigm, defining the question and type of systematic review to conduct is a pivotal first step that will guide the rest of the process and has the potential to impact on other aspects of the evidence-based healthcare cycle (evidence generation, transfer and implementation). It is something that novice reviewers (and others not familiar with the range of review types available) need to take account of but frequently overlook. Our aim is to provide a typology of review types and describe key elements that need to be addressed during question development for each type.
In this paper a typology is proposed of various systematic review methodologies. The review types are defined and situated with regard to establishing corresponding questions and inclusion criteria. The ultimate objective is to provide clarified guidance for both novice and experienced reviewers and a unified typology with respect to review types.
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- What kind of systematic review should I conduct? A proposed typology and guidance for systematic reviewers in the medical and health sciences
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