Public Health

Systematic literature searches in public health

A high quality systematic review should:

  • Identify all relevant published and unpublished evidence on a specific research topic
  • Select studies or reports for inclusion
  • Assess their quality
  • Synthesize the findings in an unbiased way
  • Interpret the findings and present a balanced and impartial summary

The Guide to Community Preventive Services describes more about systematic reviews for public health. Their reviews on specific public health topics contain findings and recommended interventions.

If you're conducting a systematic review for the first time or if you want to ensure you find all of the relevant literature, please Ask a Librarian.

Systematic review / protocol registries

More on public health systematic reviews

Liberati, A., Altman, D. G., Tetzlaff, J., Mulrow, C., Gøtzsche, P. C., Ioannidis, J. P. A., . . . Moher, D. (2009). The PRISMA statement for reporting systematic reviews and meta-analyses of studies that evaluate healthcare interventions: explanation and elaboration. Bmj, 339 doi:10.1136/bmj.b2700

Armijo-Olivo, S., Stiles, C. R., Hagen, N. A., Biondo, P. D., & Cummings, G. G. (2012). Assessment of study quality for systematic reviews: a comparison of the Cochrane Collaboration Risk of Bias Tool and the Effective Public Health Practice Project Quality Assessment Tool: methodological research. J Eval Clin Pract, 18(1), 12-18. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2753.2010.01516.x

Waters, E., Hall, B. J., Armstrong, R., Doyle, J., Pettman, T. L., & de Silva-Sanigorski, A. (2011). Essential components of public health evidence reviews: capturing intervention complexity, implementation, economics and equity. Journal of Public Health, 33(3), 462-465. doi:10.1093/pubmed/fdr064

Writing a review

Health Sciences Literature Review Made Easy: The Matrix Method (Garrard, 2014)

Systematic Reviews in the Social Sciences: A Practical Guide (Petticrew & Roberts, 2008)

Doing A Literature Review In Health And Social Care : A Practical Guide (Aveyard, 2010, 2nd ed)