A systematic review is a scholarly synthesis of the evidence on a clearly presented topic using critical methods to identify, define and assess research on the topic. A systematic review extracts and interprets data from published studies on the topic, then analyzes, describes, and summarizes interpretations into a refined conclusion. For example, a systematic review of randomized controlled trials is a way of summarizing and implementing evidence-based medicine.
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While a systematic review may be applied in the biomedical or health care context, it may also be used where an assessment of a precisely defined subject can advance understanding in a field of research. A systematic review may examine clinical tests, public health interventions, environmental interventions, social interventions, adverse effects, qualitative evidence syntheses, methodological reviews, policy reviews, and economic evaluations.