Systematic Review Resources

Introducing our first EdX course


It is an asynchronous course to define, describe, and discuss the core pieces of a systematic review. The course has 7 modules which can be accessed at any time, and in any order. It is our hope that by reviewing these materials, the user will be able to confidently move forward with working on a systematic review based on the respective guidelines and with the appreciation for the expansive timeline.

In order to access the Introduction to Systematic Reviews course, you will need to create an EdX account.

If you have a SUNet ID
  • you can log in using your credentials
If you do not have either of those credentials

You will be asked to provide your name, email address, and create a user name and password. Additional information will be requested but is not required.

Once you have created an account, or logged into an existing account, register for the course.

Stanford University Lane Medical Library Organizational Subscription to Covidence

Lane Medical Library has purchased an organizational subscription for Stanford University affiliates.

Use your Stanford affiliated email:
For support using Covidence, email:

Reporting Standards

Enhancing the QUAlity and Transparency Of health Research (EQUATOR) Network

The EQUATOR Network is an international initiative that seeks to improve the reliability and value of published health research literature by promoting transparent and accurate reporting and wider use of robust reporting guidelines.

EQUATOR Library: The Library for health research reporting provides an up-to-date collection of guidelines and policy documents related to health research reporting. These are aimed mainly at authors of research articles, journal editors, peer reviewers and reporting guideline developers. There are over 400 guidelines in the library's collection

The following are reporting guidelines for main study types

  • PRISMA (systematic reviews)
  • CONSORT (randomized control trials)
  • MOOSE (observational studies)
  • SQUIRE (quality improvement studies)

A systematic review attempts to identify, appraise and synthesize all the empirical evidence that meets pre-specified eligibility criteria to answer a specific research question. Researchers conducting systematic reviews use explicit, systematic methods that are selected with a view aimed at minimizing bias, to produce more reliable findings to inform decision making.

These reviews are complicated and depend largely on what clinical trials are available, how they were carried out (the quality of the trials) and the health outcomes that were measured. Review authors pool numerical data about effects of the treatment through a process called meta-analyses. Then authors assess the evidence for any benefits or harms from those treatments. In this way, systematic reviews are able to summarise the existing clinical research on a topic.

From Cochrane

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Critical Appraisal Tools

Risk of Bias Tools

Newcastle-Ottawa Scale (NOS) for assessing the quality of nonrandomised studies in meta-analyses. More info

It was developed to assess the quality of nonrandomised studies with its design, content and ease of use directed to the task of incorporating the quality assessments in the interpretation of meta-analytic results. A 'star system' has been developed in which a study is judged on three broad perspectives: the selection of the study groups; the comparability of the groups; and the ascertainment of either the exposure or outcome of interest for case-control or cohort studies respectively. The goal of this project is to develop an instrument providing an easy and convenient tool for quality assessment of nonrandomised studies to be used in a systematic review.

From The Ottawa Hospital