Skip to Main Content

Systematic Reviews


Systematic reviews are conducted and reported in a specific way to ensure their quality. Below are just some of the frameworks and guidelines for conducting and reporting.

Searching clinical trials in PubMed

Searching for study designs in databases can be conducted via keyword or free text (natural language), control vocabulary, or filters. 

For example, in PubMed, by selecting "Article Types" you can view a list of article/study designs. Choosing "Clinical Study" will include Randomized Clinical Trials, Phase I-IV trials, Observational Trials, and Pragmatic Trials. In addition, you can choose Meta-Analysis, Systematic Reviews, Comparative, Evaluative, Twin, or Validation Studies. 

This is a two-step process: selecting the types from the list will make them show up as a filter in the list to the left.  You must then select them from this list of filters.

Sources for Grey Literature

Grey literature is information not commercially published. Examples include conference proceedings and abstracts, dissertations and theses, white papers, government reports, technical notes and reports, and others. Grey literature can provide valuable information for systematic reviews. Below are some resources for finding grey literature.

Tools to Help Organize the Process

RUSH University Medical Center students, faculty, and staff have access to Covidence through the library. Once a librarian has opened a Covidence review for you, you will have the ability to invite members of your team to the review, even if they are outside the RUSH community. However, if your team decides not to use Covidence, you may find yourself working with other types of screening and organizational software.

There are several tools that help organize the systematic review process. While many researchers use a spreadsheet to do this, others prefer a specialized instrument. Some of these tools require a paid subscription, while others are free of charge. Each product has its own strengths, and as every research project is different, we do not recommend one over the other. All are web-based. The Library of RUSH University Medical Center does not offer technical support for these tools. 




Free/Open Source

  • Rayyan  

    "Rayyan is a web application to help systematic review authors perform their job in a quick, easy and enjoyable fashion. Authors create systematic reviews, collaborate on them, maintain them over time and get suggestions for article inclusion."

Video Tutorial

Maps and Directions