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Systematic Reviews in Healthcare: An Introductory Guide

At University Park, librarian consultations are available for the departments of Biobehavioral Health, Kinesiology and Nutritional Sciences, and the College of Nursing. This guide provides a brief overview of the systematic review process and resources.

Average Systematic Review Timeline

Cochrane Handbook for Systematic Reviews of Interventions Version 5.1.0 [updated March 2011]. The Cochrane Collaboration, 2011. Available from

Month Activity
1 - 2  Preparation of protocol
3 - 8   Searches for published & unpublished studies
2 - 3   Pilot test of eligibility criteria
3 - 8 Inclusion assessments
Pilot test of ‘Risk of bias’ assessment
3 - 10 Validity assessments
Pilot test of data collection
3 - 10 Data collection
3 - 10 Data entry
5 - 11 Follow up of missing information
8 - 10 Analysis
1 - 11 Preparation of review report
12 - Keeping the review up-to-date