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Physician Assistant Systematic Review

Systematic Review Process


  1. Write a Protocol
    • Writing a detailed protocol will make sure you that you are finding all of the relevant studies while excluding those studies that do not fit within your parameters. 
    • It is important to have the specifics of the processes that you will follow when conducting your systematic review spelled out before you begin searching the literature, to ensure that you follow your methods meticulously to reduce the likelihood of bias.  These methods are what separates a systematic review from a narrative review. 
  2. Formulate a Research Question
    • Formulating a highly structured research question will help you build a methodical search for articles that meet all of your inclusion and exclusion criteria for your systematic review. 
    •  Using a PICO format will ensure that you develop a specific question that will help you focus your search on a specific population, problem, intervention, and outcome. 
  3. Search the literature
    • Conduct a systematic and exhaustive search across multiple databases and including gray literature. 
  4. Screen and evaluate sources for inclusion
    • Using the prescribed exclusion and inclusion criteria described in your protocol, select which studies that you have through your search process will be included in the analysis for your review. 
    • The quality, type of study, and subject matter may all influence what is excluded and included. 
  5. Extract data
    • Using data extraction forms as you read each article that you have selected, you will gather data to enable you to statistically contrast and compare the results from different studies to identify patterns, differences, or other unexpected relationships that may not be identified when looking at a single study. 
  6. Synthesis and interpret results
    • Part of your interpretations will be in visual forms, with Forest plots, but you will also need to dive into your results with a discussion to summarize your findings and provide recommendations for clinical work and further research. 
  7. Disseminate findings.
    • Each of the previous steps needs to be included in your final paper. 

What will be Included in the Final Systematic Review

Every step that you have taken will be recorded in different sections of your systematic review. The final systematic review should include the following sections:





























From the Centre for Health Communication and Participation