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Systematic literature studies, Health & Sport

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Phd on track

PhD on Track is a web resource aimed primarily at PhD candidates and early career researchers. The aim is to enable beginning researchers to easily access information on searching and reviewing scholarly literature, on academic writing, and on sharing and publishing reports and data.

PhD on Track is divided into three main sections:

Search and Review In this section, basic principles and techniques for identifying literature and sources for your research are explained. The focus is on different types of issues related to reviewing literature, academic writing and workflow. Reference management systems are also suggested. By familiarizing yourself with available tools, techniques and methods for literature searching and referencing, you will enhance both the efficiency and quality of your workflow. Go to section Search and review

Share and publish
Open Science


Denne guiden er primært for studenter og forskere tilknyttet Fakultet for helse- og idrettsvitenskap ved UiA og som har planer om å publisere en systematisk litteraturstudie eller kunnskapsoppsummering / This guide is primarily for students and researchers affiliated with the Faculty of Health and Sports Science at UiA who plan to publish a systematic literature study or knowledge summary.

Different Review types

Lund, H. & Christensen, R. (2016). "a systematic review is a structured and preplanned synthesis of original studies that consists of predefined research questions, inclusion criteria, search methods, selection procedures, quality assessment, data extraction, and data analysis. No original research study should be deliberately excluded without explanation, and the results from each study should justify the conclusion"  Lund, H., Juhl, C. & Christensen, R. (2016). Systematic reviews and research waste. The Lancet, 387(10014), 123-124. 

Different Review types

Grant, M. J., & Booth, A. (2009). A typology of reviews: an analysis of 14 review types and associated methodologies. Health Information And Libraries Journal, 26(2), 91-108.

  • Sutton, A., Clowes, M., Preston, L. & Booth, A. (2019). Meeting the review family: exploring review types and associated information retrieval requirements. Health Information & Libraries Journal, 36(3), 202-222.
  • Moher, D., Stewart, L. & Shekelle, P. (2015). All in the Family: systematic reviews, rapid reviews, scoping reviews, realist reviews, and more. Systematic Reviews, 4(1), 183. 
  • Munn, Z., Peters, M. D. J., Stern, C., Tufanaru, C., McArthur, A., & Aromataris, E. (2018). Systematic review or scoping review? Guidance for authors when choosing between a systematic or scoping review approach. BMC Medical Research Methodology, 18(1), 143. doi:10.1186/s12874-018-0611-x

..."what exactly is a systematic review? How does it differ from other types of reviews? And how do you systematically search the literature?" Karolinska Institutet, University library

Systematic literature studies: Guidelines and handbooks. Method and reporting guides

Method guidance; How to Do the review; examples JBI Manual for Evidence Synthesis
Reporting guidance; What to include in your manuscript; example PRISMA (Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses)  and PRISMA  extensions (exampel PRISMA for Scoping Reviews)

Scoping studies

Munn, Z., Pollock, D., Khalil, H., Alexander, L., McInerney, P., Godfrey, C. M., Peters, M. & Tricco, A. C. (2022). What are scoping reviews? Providing a formal definition of scoping reviews as a type of evidence synthesis. JBI Evidence Synthesis. 


  • Peters, M. D. J., Marnie, C., Tricco, A. C., Pollock, D., Munn, Z., Alexander, L., McInerney, P., Godfrey, C. M., & Khalil, H. (2020). Updated methodological guidance for the conduct of scoping reviews. JBI Evid Synth, 18(10), 2119-2126. 
  • Bradbury-Jones, C., Aveyard, H., Herber, O. R., Isham, L., Taylor, J., & O’Malley, L. (2021). Scoping reviews: the PAGER framework for improving the quality of reporting. International Journal of Social Research Methodology, 1-14. 
  • Lockwood, C., Dos Santos, K. B. & Pap, R. (2019). Practical Guidance for Knowledge Synthesis: Scoping Review Methods. Asian Nursing Research, 13(5), 287-294. 
  • Armstrong, R., Hall, B. J., Doyle, J. & Waters, E. (2011). Cochrane Update. 'Scoping the scope' of a cochrane review. J Public Health (Oxf), 33(1), 147-150.
  • Levac, D., Colquhoun, H. & O'Brien, K. K. (2010). Scoping studies: advancing the methodology. Implementation Science, 5(1), 69.
  • Colquhoun, H. L., Levac, D., O'Brien, K. K., Straus, S., Tricco, A. C., Perrier, L., … Moher, D. (2014). Scoping reviews: time for clarity in definition, methods, and reporting. Journal of Clinical Epidemiology, 67(12), 1291-1294.
  • Khalil, H., Peters, M., Godfrey, C. M., McInerney, P., Soares, C. B. & Parker, D. (2016). An Evidence-Based Approach to Scoping Reviews. Worldviews on Evidence-Based Nursing, 13(2), 118-123.
  • Pham, M. T., Rajic, A., Greig, J. D., Sargeant, J. M., Papadopoulos, A. & McEwen, S. A. (2014). A scoping review of scoping reviews: advancing the approach and enhancing the consistency. Res Synth Methods, 5(4), 371-385.

Databases that covers mainly systematic reviews/Published and protocols


Also search for systematic reviews (or systematic review protocols) published in journals from the reference database, like MEDLINE, CINAHL etc

Search with words for your topic, AND words for reviews. A quick search, includes words from title only, or also words from publication type. If protocols, search with AND protocol* in title as well. Some examples below, choose the words that are relevant,

    • ... TI (review* OR meta-analys* OR metasynthes* OR mete-synthes* OR metaethnog* OR overview* OR synthes*)
    • ... TI protocol*
    • ...  PT ("systematic review" OR "meta analysis" OR meta-analysis OR "meta synthesis")
  • Ovid MEDLINE: ().ti OR ().pt
    • .pt = Publication types
  • Ovid APA PsycInfo ().ti OR (1300 or 0830 or 1200).md.
    • .md = methodology
    • 0830 Systematic Review    
      1200 Meta Analysis
      1300 Metasynthesis
  • PubMed: Use limits to the left, or field-code [ti] - [pt] - or pick a code from the advanced search mode
  • Google Scholar: use limits to the left, or field-code: intitle:review|meta-analysis|metasynthesis ... 
  • Scopus, type in words from title

MEDLINE Publication types: Notice also search with words from title, that will include the articles that is not indexed