What is a systematic review?
Systematic reviews synthesise the best available evidence on a specific research question. Because they look systematically across the evidence base being reviewed to see what works and why, they are more reliable for decision-making than the results of a single study or looking at study results in an ad hoc way.
Systematic reviews use explicit and transparent procedures to identify all available research evidence relevant for a specific question. To ensure that systematic reviews are reliable and replicable they must have a clear inclusion and exclusion criteria, an explicit search strategy and systematic procedures for data extraction, and critical appraisal and analysis of included studies. When appropriate, findings from individual studies should be combined using statistical meta-analysis.
3ie systematic reviews examine evidence on social or economic development interventions in low- and middle-income countries. All 3ie-funded systematic reviews are carried out according to recognised international standards and are usually registered with the Campbell Collaboration, which provides training and support to review authors.