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Abdulaziz M Aden Professor Muratore Article review 3, English 102 3 October 2010 Bettany-Saltikov J (2010). Learning how to undertake a systematic review: part 1, Nursing Standard, 24, 50, 47-55. Researchers apply varying research methods for different purposes to find answers to burning questions. One of these methods is systematic review, which is a modified version of literature review. Some researchers defined systematic review as the application of scientific strategies that limit bias by the systematic assembly, critical appraisal and synthesis of all relevant studies on a specific topic (qtd. in Wright et.al 23). It is important to note that systematic reviews rely largely on the already developed knowledge to draw their conclusions as well as measure study outcomes. Bettany-Saltikov, one of the authors who pioneered to write about systematic review processes, discussed the subject in a two-part article, Learning How to Undertake a Systematic Review. In his two-series articles, the author exhibited a theoretical model, supported with some practical examples that offer a broad overview of how to research and write a systematic review, and what processes to follow for better results. With this in mind, this article review aims to summarize and evaluate the authors main discussions and ideas that are presented only in the first-part series of his article: Leaning how to undertake a systematic review: part 1.

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In terms of structure, the author presented the material in a well organized style. He adeptly used small sections and paragraphs that convey the fundamental issues of the matter in a manner of brevity and precision. To help with a thorough understanding of the article, the author illustrated his ideas clearly with a well developed case study that demonstrated the steps and actions of a model character. In addition, the author provided a number of informative tables with extra facts about some important concepts and ideas that called for more coverage. A number of engaging time-out (task) boxes was also provided at the end each section, to help readers apply the concepts and increase their knowledge retention. The author started the discussion with a snapshot of what a systematic review is about and its distinctive characteristics. Next, he compared the processes with that of literature (narrative) review method, highlighting their main similarities and differences this part will further be discussed below. This was followed by details about core activities of the systematic review, including how to identify and select a research topic, ways to develop and formulate revealing research questions, and what types of study design to use for the research process. The author continued to discuss at length the importance of writing a research protocol, which documents details of the whole research process. The protocol is the central unit of the review as it serves to make the research plan explicit as well as to minimize bias (Campbell et. al 4). According to the author, the protocol needs to include details about the

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research background, context, objectives, and rationale. Other important elements include the selection criteria for what sort of literature to research and what outcome measures to apply. Search strategies and criteria for locating, selecting and evaluating the selected literature that are not discussed in the first-part series of the article need to be explained in the research protocol as well. Systematic review is an important part of scholarly and scientific research and is one of the most valued research methods. Wright et al noted that systematic reviews and meta-analysis of appropriate studies can be the best form of evidence available for clinicians (1). As can be inferred from the above statement, supported by other research data as well, this aspect of researching is widely used in the health sciences, particularly in medicine and health care, where empirical evidence carries more weight than experiential and qualitative observations. However, systematic review is not specific in use only in the health sciences, but it is also practiced in the social sciences disciplines (eg, psychology and education). Some researchers cited that there are three main approaches to undertaking a systematic review in the social sciences: traditional, extended and/or adapted, and integrative (Victor 1). I found the article very insightful and suggestive of a good model for anyone interested in conducing systematic research reviews. These ideas will build on and as well boost my previous understanding and skills in employing research methodologies. Particularly remarkable is the knowledge

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I acquired on the ways systematic reviews are carried out in the healthcare practices for clinical decision making. However, while the processes introduced in the article are widely practiced by healthcare professionals, most of these concepts seem to be applicable in other disciplines as well as research areas. Although some authors pointed out existing applications of the concept in the social sciences (e g. Victor 2), I found out that as much information of the practice is not available in the social sciences as in the health sciences. Therefore, this fact has aroused my interest in which I will need to further explore the general practices and outcomes of systematic review methods in the social science disciplines. The authors detailed coverage and description of the similarities and differences between systematic and literature reviews were of a good note. Interestingly, the author clearly spoke of the divergence of the underlying principles of the research questions pursued by the reviewers of the both sides. According to the author, whilst stringent scientific methodologies and critical peer reviews are bases for systematic review processes, personal methodologies that are mainly driven by a reviewers personal interest, needs and values, are applied in the other spectrum. Hence, systematic reviews has a comparative advantage over the traditional literature review as they use a very structured method and . . . also minimize, without altogether eliminating, human error and bias (Campbell et.al 2,4). The authors discussion of the differences between the tasks of developing and formulating research questions were much fascinating.

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According to the author, reviewers first step is to identify a host of topicrelevant questions, refine them, and select among them the most specific and relevant to the problem at hand. The selected question should be designed in a manner that illuminates the problem and also elicits more information than closed and yes-and-no questions produce. The second step is the task of formulating the preferred question, that is, to dismantle it into its different dimensions. This task will help researchers choose appropriate and relevant literature that would, in turn, produce better outcomes. To ensure this process, however, the author suggested the use of some existing formulating frameworks. Because the authors article centered on the research practices in the healthcare profession, he provided an example of PICO framework components (acronym for Population, Interventions, Comparisons, Outcome). Although the author mentioned a different framework (PEO population, Exposure, Outcomes) that used all sciences, he offered a little detail. Nonetheless, both frameworks seem to have considerable appeal to systematic reviewers and research practitioners in the healthcare professions, as they are believed to produce better results. Other procedures, such as search techniques, literature selection and evaluation criteria, and the structure and write-up of the review, that are not covered in this article in review, will be discussed in Saltikovs second part paper, Learning how to undertake a systematic review: part 2, Nursing Standard, 24, 51, 47-56.

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In summary, systematic review is a highly valued research methodology that is practiced by reviewers in many disciplines, particularly in the health care and medicine. While methodologies tend to get updated regularly and researchers need to keep abreast of new developments, the authors comprehensive coverage of the concept can serve as a valuable toolkit of basic and expert literature researching for both current and potential reviewers. Successful implementation of steps and procedures discussed in Learning how to undertake a systematic review: part 1 & 2will help accumulate academic knowledge, produce high quality and evidencebased results, and also will facilitate professional decision making.

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References Campbell et.al. (2008) Chapter 9: Systematic review. The RM Translation Toolkit: A Resource for Researchers. Retrieved 27 September 2010 from http://www.idrc.ca/research-matters/ev-128908-201-1DO_TOPIC.html. Victor, Liz. (2008).Systematic Reviewing, Social Research Update. 54.1 Wright et.al. (2007) How to Write a Systematic Review. Clinical Orthopaedics and Related Research. 455. pp.23-29