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Systematic Review Overview: How to Appraise a Systematic Review

Introduction to the 8 elements that encompass a systematic review

How to Appraise a Systematic Review

Before conducting a systematic review you may want to see if other reviews have been written on your topic. If you do find one, you can then appraise it to see how well the systematic review was conducted. If it was poorly done, perhaps you may want to proceed with your topic.

Appraising systematic reviews is an important practice and there are several questions you may ask during the evaluation process. These include, but are not limited to the following:

  • Is the review question clearly and explicitly stated?
  • Were comprehensive search methods used to locate studies?
  • How were studies selected?
  • Was the validity of studies assessed appropriately?
  • Were reasons for any differences between individual studies explored?
  • Were findings from individual studies combined appropriately?
  • Are review methods clearly reported?
  • Were the conclusions supported by the reported data?

These are just a few of the questions to ask when appraising systematic reviews. View the reference and resources list for complete sets of questions.

Once you have conducted your systematic review, it is important to remember that others may be appraising the work you have done. If you keep in mind the appraisal process while conducting a systematic review, it will help to ensure your systematic review is of high quality.