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Evidence Synthesis and Systematic Reviews

What is an evidence synthesis? How do you do a systematic review? And how can the library help?

The importance of evidence synthesis work

Journal editors are reporting an uptick in the number of review submissions during the pandemic. Literature reviews can be done while other research is stopped by lack of access to labs or subjects. But even beyond the pandemic, evidence syntheses, by whatever name, are crucial to current awareness and decision making in many fields.

This guide is designed to provide a basic introduction to doing evidence syntheses inside and outside of the health sciences. It will answer questions such as:

  • I've heard of systematic reviews. What is an evidence synthesis?
  • What (exactly) is a systematic review?
  • What other kinds of reviews and syntheses are there?
  • Aren't systematic reviews only for the health sciences?
  • What tools are available to help do an evidence synthesis?
  • Are there guides or standards?
  • How can a librarian help with an evidence synthesis?

Inspired by

This guide was inspired by the Systematic Review and Evidence Synthesis workshops held virtually by Cornell University Library in August 2020.