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Systematic Literature Reviews in Engineering: Home

What is a Systematic Literature Review

A Systematic Review is a "critical assessment and evaluation of all research studies that address a particular...issue" (Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality) and the technique originated in the healthcare field. In contrast to a literature review, a Systematic Review is a research project in its own right, and includes the formulation of a research question, an exhaustive search of the literature, selection of relevant resources using pre-defined inclusion and exclusion criteria, and analysis.

Systematic Literature Reviews have also been used as the basis for semester-long student research projects. Contact us to get started.

This LibGuide provides an overview of the Systematic Review process, with an example of how it has been adapted in Engineering.


This is an overview of the process of conducting a Systematic Literature Review: (Taken from EBSE-2007-01)

  • Planning the review
    • Identifying the need for a review
    • Specifying the research question
    • Developing and evaluating the review protocol
  • Conducting the review
    • Developing a search strategy to identify relevant research
    • Selecting relevant studies
    • Analyzing and synthesizing data
  • Reporting the review
    • Determining how to report results
    • Writing and formatting review

Get Started

Since conducting a comprehensive and exhaustive search of the literature is a key component of a Systematic Literature Review, it can be helpful to get help from a librarian. Several librarians have received formal Systematic Review training. We can provide assistance with the following:

  • Recommending databases and sources
  • Developing a search strategy, including using controlled vocabularies
  • Running test searches
  • Identifying sources for grey literature and hand searching
  • Advising on citation management

It may also be helpful to look at guides for Systematic Reviews in other fields.

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