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Systematic Reviews: How-To in Detail

Manuals versus Reporting Guidelines

There are two types of guidance documents necessary for conducting systematic reviews and other evidence syntheses, they serve different purposes and you need both to successfully navigate the process from planning to publication.

  1. Handbooks or manuals
  2. Reporting guidelines

Handbooks and manuals provide practical methodological guidance for undertaking a systematic review.  They contain detailed steps on how to plan, conduct, organize, and present your review.  This is the best place to go if you have any questions about the best practices for any of the steps in the process.

Reporting guidelines aid in the transparent and accurate reporting, in your manuscript for publication, the steps you performed when conducting your review.


From the Equator Network - What is a reporting guideline?

A reporting guideline is a simple, structured tool for health researchers to use while writing manuscripts. A reporting guideline provides a minimum list of information needed to ensure a manuscript can be:

  • Understood by a reader,

  • Replicated by a researcher,

  • Used by a doctor to make a clinical decision, and

  • Included in a systematic review.

Handbooks and Manuals

Systematic Review Reporting Guidelines

Scoping Review Reporting Guidelines

Reporting Guidelines for Other Reviews


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