Systematic Review or Meta Analysis

Last Update: 2023-11-21 07:41:33

Brieflands accepts PRISMA:

Authors should report systematic reviews and meta-analyses following the PRISMA (Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses) statement.


Allowed number of figures/tables:

In a Systematic Review maximum number of:

  • References: 100
  • illustrations/Tables: 6


For Systematic Reviews, both the abstract and text of the manuscript should be subdivided into the following sequential sections:

  • Title: Identify the report as a systematic review. 
  • Abstract:  State the precise primary objective of the review. Indicate whether the review emphasizes factors such as cause, diagnosis, prognosis, therapy, or prevention and include information about the specific population, intervention, exposure, and tests or outcomes that are being reviewed. The structure of an abstract is as below:
    • Introduction
    • Methods
    • Results
    • Conclusions

The structure of an main body text is as below:

  • 1. Introduction:
    • Rationale: Describe the rationale for the review in the context of existing knowledge.
    • Objectives: Provide an explicit statement of the objective(s) or question(s) the review addresses. 
  • 2. Methods:
    • Data Sources: Succinctly summarize data sources, including years searched. Include the most current information in the search, ideally conducting the investigation several months before manuscript submission. Potential sources include computerized databases and published indexes, registries, abstract booklets, conference proceedings, references identified from bibliographies of pertinent articles and books, experts or research institutions active in the field, and companies or manufacturers of tests or agents being reviewed. If a bibliographic database is used, state the exact indexing terms for article retrieval, including any constraints (English language or human subjects). If abstract space does not permit this level of detail, summarize sources in the abstract, including databases and years searched, and place the remainder of the information in the "Methods" section of the text.
    • Study Selection: Describe the inclusion and exclusion criteria used to select studies for detailed review from among studies relevant to the topic. Under details of selection include particular populations, interventions, outcomes, or methodological designs. Specify the method used to apply these criteria (for example, blinded review, consensus, multiple reviewers). State the proportion of initially identified studies that met selection criteria.
    • Data Extraction: Describe guidelines for abstracting data and assessing data quality and validity (such as criteria for causal inference). State the method by which the policies were applied (e.g., independent extraction by multiple observers). 
  • 3. Results: State the main results of the review, whether qualitative or quantitative and outline the methods used to obtain these results. For meta-analyses, state the significant pooled outcomes and include odds ratios or effect sizes and, if possible, sensitivity analyses. Accompany numerical results by confidence intervals, if applicable, and exact levels of statistical significance. Evaluation of screening and diagnostic tests includes sensitivity, specificity, likelihood ratios, receiver operating characteristic curves, and predictive values. For assessments of prognosis, summarize survival characteristics and related variables. State the significant identified sources of variation between studies, including differences in treatment protocols, co-interventions, confounders, outcome measures, length of follow-up, and dropout rates. 
  • 4. Discussion: Clearly state the conclusions and their applications (clinical or otherwise), limiting interpretation to the review domain.