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Systematic Reviews: A How-To Guide

Overview of systematic review steps and resources to assist researchers conducting reviews

A. Select Databases

Select Academic Databases

The databases you choose will depend on your research question and the disciplines in which relevant research may be conducted. Check UVic's Library's database catalog for a full list of available sources across all disciplines. 

Librarians can also recommend databases to search for a systematic review. Contact UVic Libraries to request a consultation. 

B. Select Gray Literature Sources

Select Grey Literature Sources

Grey (or gray) literature is literature produced by individuals or organizations outside of commercial and/or academic publishers. These organizations include governments, businesses, not-for-profits, health organizations and associations, and more. Searching for grey literature can be difficult because it is not usually indexed within traditional databases.

When completing a systematic review, however, it is imperative to find as much evidence as possible, and that means searching beyond academic literature alone. The sources you select will be informed by your research question and field of study, but should likely include, at a minimum, theses and dissertations. While not peer-reviewed, grey literature represents a valuable body of information that is critical to consider when synthesizing and evaluating all available evidence.


Selected Grey Literature Sources

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