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Research Guides

Systematic Reviews and Related Evidence Syntheses: About

About This Guide

This guide provides information about systematic and structured literature reviews and syntheses. To request assistance with a review, please contact us at or

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8 phases of a review project

The PIECCESS framework provides a series of 8 phases and processes, each with potential scholarly outputs, to follow for the life of a review project:

  1. Proposal- Determine the feasibility of the review
  2. Protocol- Develop the methods of the review; consider registering protocol
  3. Preliminary findings- Prepare report for a conference presentation, a poster, or other venue to share
  4. Publish paper- Select best journal and submit paper
  5. Preserve project- Share and preserve the project 
  6. Promote the project- Select stakeholders and promote
  7. Impact tracking- Collect the impact of the project- such as citations and altmetrics
  8. Update algorithm- Set the triggering criteria for an update

Each phase requires 8 processes:

  • Plan: each phase requires some planning and project management
  • Identify- searching tasks 
  • Evaluate-  sorting the results of identify processes
  • Collect- gathering data from selected results
  • Combine- combining and visualizing results as appropriate
  • Explain- providing the context of the results
  • Summarize- pulling everything together from the phase, following standards when available
  • Share- publishing or otherwise sharing as appropriate

PIECCESS Framework was summarized from: Foster MJ and Jewell ST (Eds.) (2022) Piecing Together Systematic Reviews and Other Evidence Syntheses. (Medical Library Association Books Series) Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield. Dec 2022.

Types of reviews

There are over 20 different types of reviews. The main types are listed below:

  • Literature/narrative review: Most common reviews, often written as an introduction to an article reported a study to provide context. Also written as stand alone works summarizing a particular area, published in journals or as book chapters.
  • Scoping review: A framework for gathering and analyzing studies on a topic; Methods are reported.Findings
  • Systematic review: A research method to designed to answer a predefined question by collecting, appraising, analyzing, and synthesizing studies matching specified criteria. They are conducted in medicine, public health, education, social sciences, engineering, and other disciplines. Well done reviews should have at least 2 authors. Can include a meta-analysis if appropriate.
  • Meta-analysis: A mathematical synthesis method for combining data points from multiple studies.

More resources: