It combines the strength of a critical review with exhaustive search processes and strategies. A systematic review attempts to collate all empirical evidence that fits pre-specified eligibility criteria in order to answer a specific research question.
The overarching purpose of a systematic review is to identify, analyse, appraise, and arrive at a considered and balanced judgement. Individual sources of research are gathered and evaluated side-by-side. Reviewers will rigorously create a record of the origin of the information and data they find, summarise and appraise each piece of evidence according to a strict criteria, and synthesise findings based on the primary source material in their review.
Pérez-Gaxiola, G., Cuello-García, C.A., Florez, I.D. and Pérez-Pico, V.M. (2018) 'Smectite for acute infectious diarrhoea in children.' Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, Issue 4: CD011526, pp. 1-57. [Online] [Accessed 6th August 2018] http://cochranelibrary-wiley.com/doi/10.1002/14651858.CD011526.pub2/full
The Cochrane Collaboration. (2011) Cochrane Handbook for Systematic Reviews of Interventions. [Online] [Accessed on 6th August 2018] http://handbook-5-1.cochrane.org/chapter_2/box_2_3_b_timeline_for_a_cochrane_review.htm