Skip to Main Content

Library & Information Services Sub Menu Dismiss

Nursing 504/604: Finding review articles

Tutorial Videos

Learn how to use the various resources for finding quality evidence with this series of short screencast videos. Please note: these videos do not contain an audio track.

Finding Systematic Reviews

"Based on the best available information ..., Cochrane reviews explore the evidence for and against the effectiveness and appropriateness of treatments (medications, surgery, education, etc) in specific circumstances."‚Äč


Search CINAHL for your topic and use the "Publication Type" limit to find Systematic Reviews.


Search PubMed for your topic, then limit the results by "Article Type" to Systematic Reviews. Alternatively, click on Clinical Queries, perform your search, and pay attention to the middle column.


Types of review articles

A systematic review is "a high-level overview of primary research on a particular research question that tries to identify, select, synthesize and appraise all high quality research evidence relevant to that question in order to answer it." --from the Cochrane Collaboration webpage

  • Cochrane is considered the gold standard for systematic reviews.

A meta-analysis is "the use of statistical techniques in a systematic review to integrate the results of included studies. Sometimes misused as a synonym for systematic reviews, where the review includes a meta-analysis." --from the Cochrane Collaboration Glossary

Is it systematic?

Clues that the review is systematic:

  • Title specifcially says "systematic review" or "meta-analysis"
  • The introduction clearly specifies PICO(s) being addressed
  • Methods specify qualifying studies, search strategies, information sources, and other revelant details
  • Results provides number of studies screened and reasons for excluding any studies (if needed)
  • Discussion includes strength of evidence for each outcome, bias, and limititations.

More information can be found at PRISMA.