Why conduct systematic reviews?
The primary literature base available today is enormous, making it is difficult for clinicians and policy makers to read every piece of primary research on a particular topic. Different pieces of research can also offer different conclusions, which further complicates understanding the literature.
Systematic reviews are the next step in building the evidence base after primary research. A systematic review synthesises all of the available research on a particular question. If the research base is quantitative, a meta-analysis can also be conducted. A meta-analysis allows treatment effects from different studies to be combined, to determine whether a treatment truly has an advantageous effect.
Our Involvement in Systematic Reviews
We are currently conducting and collaborating on systematic reviews on the following topics:
- Cancer research
- Cardiovascular research
- Gastrointestinal research
- Orthopaedic and musculoskeletal research
- Methodological conduct and reporting of medical studies
- Perioperative care
Blood Systematic Review Initiative
CSM's Marialena Trivella and Sally Hopewell are involved in systematic reviews on blood transfusion and other haematology matters through an NIHR Cochrane grant for Blood and through the Systematic Review Initiative.
The Systematic Review Initiative is a clinical research group established in 2001 by NHS Blood and Transplant and funded through the four UK Blood Services. It aims to develop the evidence base for the practice of transfusion medicine. Marialena Trivella is the SRI's senior methodological and statistical adviser.
Some of our in-progress systematic reviews and meta-analyses on haematology are:
- Adverse effects of small volume red blood cell transfusions in the neonatal population
- The age of blood
- Alternative agents versus prophylactic platelet transfusion for preventing bleeding in patients with thrombocytopenia due to chronic bone marrow failure.
- Red cell transfusion for the management of gastrointestinal haemorrhage
Learn more about systematic reviews
The following organisations provide excellent resources for learning about systematic reviews and planning your review:
John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health
Drs Kay Dickerin and Tianjing Li present a free 6-week introduction to systematic reviews through Coursera.
This global non-profit is the gold standard for systematic reviews. The Cochrane Handbook is a wealth of information.