A practical guide to question formation, systematic searching and study screening for literature reviews in ecology and evolution

Yong Zhi Foo, Rose E. O'Dea, Julia Koricheva, Shinichi Nakagawa, Malgorzata Lagisz

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Well-conducted systematic reviews are invaluable for synthesising research findings. The conclusions of a review depend on how the research question was formulated, how relevant studies were found and how studies were selected for synthesis. Here, we present a practical guide for ecologists and evolutionary biologists on formulating a question for a systematic review, and finding a representative sample of research findings. We explain the steps involved using a worked example and practical training exercises. Throughout this guide we share tricks of the trade, included rules of thumb and software that we have found useful. We hope our paper helps demystify the systematic search process and encourages more researchers to adopt a systematic and reproducible approach when searching the literature.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1705-1720
Number of pages16
JournalMethods in Ecology and Evolution
Volume12
Issue number9
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2021
Externally publishedYes

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