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NFS 4110 Capstone in Nutritional Sciences: Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses

Course Guide for Dr. Tuuri's NFS 4110 class. This is a great starting place for research.

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Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses Defined

Systematic Review

"A summary of the clinical literature. A systematic review is a critical assessment and evaluation of all research studies that address a particular clinical issue. The researchers use an organized method of locating, assembling, and evaluating a body of literature on a particular topic using a set of specific criteria. A systematic review typically includes a description of the findings of the collection of research studies. The systematic review may also include a quantitative pooling of data, called a meta-analysis" -taken from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality Glossary (no longer online).

Meta-Analyses

"A way of combining data from many different research studies. A meta-analysis is a statistical process that combines the findings from individual studies" -taken from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality Glossary (no longer online).

All Reviews (also called overviews) Reviews that are not systematic (traditional narrative reviews). Systematic reviews. Meta-analyses. Individual patient data (IPD) meta-analyses.

Image from TeachEPI.org

Systematic Review Well-defined research question to be answered by the review.  Conducted with the aim of finding all existing            evidence in an unbiased, transparent, and    reproducible way.  Attempts are made to find ALL existing       published and unpublished literature on the      research question. The process is documented and reported. Reasons for including or excluding studies are explicit and informed by the research         question. Systematically assess risk of bias of individual studies and overall quality of the evidence,   including sources of heterogeneity between study results.  Base conclusion on quality of the studies an provide recommendations for practice or to address knowledge gaps.  Traditional Literature Review Topics may be broad in scope, the goal of the review may be to place one’s own research within the existing body of knowledge, or to gather information that supports a particular viewpoint. Searches maybe ad hoc, and based on what the author is already familiar with. Searches are not as exhaustive or fully comprehensive. Often lack clear reasons why studies were     included or excluded from the review.  Often do not consider study quality of          potential biases in study design.  Conclusions are more qualitative and may not be based on study quality.

Study Design

There are many other types of study designs or research designs. You can learn more by following the links below.

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