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A systematic review means compiling and analysing large amounts or research within a well-defined area, with the purpose of answering a previously specified question. The result will constitute the best available international research in the field at the time the review was made.
This work is characterised above all by being systematic and transparent. This means for example that:
the work is based on one or more clear questions
the work follows a clear protocol and is documented
all the stages in the work and arguments are presented (search, selection, assessment of study quality and synthesis)
all relevant research is searched and observed.
The purpose of openly presented and structured methods to identify, select and compile the research results is to minimise the risk that chance or arbitrariness will affect the results. It should also be possible to follow and evaluate the work that has led to the selection of research and compilation of the results.