Skip to Main Content

Health & Behavioral Sciences

Systematic Reviews

Systematic reviews are literature reviews of primary research in health care and policy.  A systematic review addresses a clearly formulated question.  To answer the question a search is done to collate all the existing primary research on the topic.  The information from the primary research is then analyzed by meta-analysis, which uses statistical methods to combine the information from separate but similar studies and derive conclusions.  A systematic review of randomized controlled trials informs evidence-based medicine, an approach to medical practice intended to optimize decision-making by emphasizing the use of evidence from well-designed and well-conducted research.

Systematic Reviews Databases

Randomized Controlled Studies Search Term Tips


  • Use synonyms for conditions or treatments and combine them with OR in your search:
    • high blood pressure OR hypertension
    • heart attack OR myocardial infarction OR cardiac arrest
    • flu OR influenza 
    • behavior therapy OR behavior modification OR behavior intervention
  • Search for study or trial terms like:
    • Double-blind randomized controlled trial
    • Randomized controlled trial OR RCT
    • Double-blind study
    • Controlled trial
    • Clinical trial

Example Search for Randomized Controlled Studies in Medline

Need Help?

JavaScript disabled or chat unavailable. Please use the Ask a Librarian form to ask a question.