How Systematic reviews are conducted?

By : Dr. Hani Alhebshi.

A systematic review is simply a structured and organized way to review many articles on specific topic and collecting their results and analyzing them with or without statistical methods; to reach a better conclusion on that topic under investigation.
If statistical methods were used ; It is called “Meta-analysis“.

For example :
If we want to make a systematic review on whether there is a relation between third molar impaction and late lower arch crowding , we raise the question : Is there a relation between them ?
Then we determine inclusion and exclusion criteria of papers that we are going to collect. They must be relevant to our topic. If articles found during our search has not matched our inclusion criteria ; they are ignored to others that match.
Then we organize data in tabular forms and analyze their results.
Analysis can summerize the net conclusion of whether they support or refute presence of any relation between molar impaction and lower arch crowding.
If statistical method was used in the analysis;  we call it meta-analysis.
Final step we state our own conclusion based on the whole review we have done.

To Summerize the steps :
1.Define a question.
2.Search the literature after addressing inclusion and exclusion criteria.
3.Assess the studies.
4.Combine the results non-statistically or statistically (Meta-analysis).
5.Put the findings in context and state conclusion.

Useful links :
1.Systematic reviews and Meta-analysis

2.Five steps to conducting systematic reviews.

3. Systematic Reviews User-Guide from King’s College.

4. Systematic Review Search Strategies. 

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