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Evidence Synthesis: Systematic Review & Scoping Review: Guidelines & Standards

A guide to resources for learning about and conducting evidence synthesis projects, including but not limited to Systematic and Scoping Reviews. .

Resources on the Web

The Cochrane Handbook for Systematic Reviews of Interventions:

The Cochrane Handbook provides a detailed guide to the methods involved in creating a Cochrane systematic review. The Cochrane methods involve a high standard of rigor and require significant planning and collaboration; including involving a Cochrane search co-ordinator or librarian in the search process (Section 6.3.1).

Finding What Works in Healthcare: Standards for Systematic Reviews:

The complete 340 page report from the Institute of Medicine (now known as the National Academy of Medicine) addresses the entire systematic review process in detail. A summarized form of the standards is also available for quick review or quality assessment. The standards recommend working with a librarian to plan a search strategy (Standard 3.1.1).

Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses:

The PRISMA system comprises a set of twenty-seven evidence-based items that are preferred for reporting on systematic reviews. The twenty-seven item checklist is not a quality assessment, but it may be used critically appraise the rigor of a report on a systematic review.

PRESS Peer Review of Electronic Search Strategies:

The PRESS checklist provides guidelines for critically appraising electronic search strategies for use in systematic reviews. 

Methods Guide for Effectiveness and Comparative Effectiveness Reviews:

This Guide describes recommended approaches for addressing difficult methodological issues that may be encountered at every stage of a systematic review; from identifing, selecting, and refining topics; to finding studies; to avoiding bias; to assessing the strength of evidence; and making use of existing reviews.

Application of Systematic Review Methodology to the Field of Nutrition:

Describes the steps for performing systematic reviews, highlighting areas unique to the discipline of nutrition important to consider in data assessment such as baseline nutrient exposure, nutrient status, bioequivalence of bioactive compounds, bioavailability, multiple and interrelated biological functions, undefined nature of some interventions, and uncertainties in intake assessment..


AMSTAR is a measurement tool for the assessment of methodological quality of systematic reviews. Please see the "additional reading" tab to learn more about the development and validation of AMSTAR.