Mälardalens högskola | Mälardalens högskola

Structured information searching

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.

A film from Southern Cross University Library where they briefly describe the six steps of a systematic research review.


Part 1 Provide hints and strategies for undertaking your literature searching in a structured and systematic way.

Part 2 About search techniques

Part 3 Recording a search strategy

Part 4 How to use your search techniques when you search in databases.

Part 5 About tools and resources that may help as you undertake structured or systematic literature searching.

Southern Cross University Library (2016). Searching the literature. Retrieved May 7 2020 from