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Systematic Reviews for Psychology in Shanghai

Introduction to the Systematic Review structure and process for NYU-Shanghai students in Psychology

What makes it a systematic review?

A systematic review organizes all empirical evidence answering a specific research question according to pre-specified eligibility criteria. The key elements are:

  1. a clearly defined question with pre-defined eligibility criteria for studies;
  2. an explicit, reproducible methodology;
  3. a search that attempts to identify all studies that address the question and meet the eligibility criteria;
  4. an appraisal of the validity of the included studies; and
  5. a synthesis of the characteristics and findings of the included studies.

SAGE Project Planner

How to build a PICO(T) question

Identifying PICO (T) elements helps to focus your question:

  • P = problem/patient/population
  • I = intervention
  • C = comparison intervention
  • O = outcome
  • (T) = time factor, type of study (optional)

Example question: Does hand washing among healthcare workers reduce hospital acquired infection?

Covidence and Prisma

Visit NYU's Psychology LibGuide to learn about  Prisma and Covidence.

  • Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) includes checklists and flow diagrams to help you plan your literature review. 
  • Covidence works with Zotero or Refworks in your systematic review.  

Books on writing process

Doing Your Literature Review

Easy-to-read, this book guides you, the student, through a systematic literature review. It clearly explains the skills needed, such as: practical advice on reading, organizing relevant literature, and critically assessing the reviewed field.

Writing literature reviews : a guide for students of the social and behavioral sciences

Detailed contents on p. v-ix breaks out the whole sequence for a literature review. Includes sample literature reviews. Highly recommended.

A Short Handbook for Writing Essays in the Humanities and Social Sciences

Great for self-editing or peer-editing in a group. What are the stages of editing?

APA Style Simplified

Explores how to develop ideas, connect them to what others have written, and express them clearly. Discusses the differences between written, oral, and poster presentations and offers instructions for applying APA style to each. Ethics discussion and examples of how to cite well and accurately. Easy to read.

Making Sense in Psychology

Chapter 8 explores honours thesis writing. Chapter 4 explains how to search for information.

Effective Writing in Psychology

Also an ebook.
Simply written and clearly arranged. Includes chapters on assessing books and articles, search strategies with the library, and how to critically read in order to synthesize in reviews and reports.

How to Publish High-Quality Research

From why to write a literature review, to successfully revising, explained in two checklists.

Writing in Psychology

How to read and write literature reviews or meta-analyses. Exemplar journal articles show readers the content prevalent in writing psychological reports.  Offers rhetorical options for introductions and key questions to ask of articles while reading for a literature review.

Undergraduate Writing in Psychology

Read this book before visiting the ARC. Writing samples, including two full-length student papers in draft, marked-up, and final form. Illustrates key concepts such as how to synthesize literature, how revision differs from editing, and how to recognise and avoid plagiarism. Guidance on how to communicate with instructors on a professional level. The book shows examples of checklists, grading rubrics instructors might use, and literature reviews.

Reporting Research in Psychology

Not quick but concise to read. Text boxes highlight statements to explore in writing. Samples of front matter are in the Appendix. Clear discussion of how to assess and discuss your research in writing. Also covers JARS and MARS for meta-analysis. Highly Recommended.

Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association

In addition to providing guidance on grammar, the mechanics of writing, and APA style, this manual offers an authoritative reference and citation system. It also covers the treatment of numbers, statistical and mathematical data, tables and figures.

Doing a Literature Review in Health and Social Care

From topic/question selection through searching for literature, critically reading and synthesizing, to writing. Discusses what to do if you do not find an answer to your original question.