According to the Cochrane Handbook, section 1.2.2, "the key characteristics of a systematic review are:
Green, S., Higgins, J.P.T., Alderson, P., Clarke, M., Mulrow, C.D., Oxman, A.D. (2008). Chapter 1: Introduction. In: Higgins, J.P.T., Green, S. (Eds.), Cochrane handbook for systematic reviews of interventions. The Cochrane Collaboration.
Develop a Research Question: As you write your research question there are a few different frameworks you can choose from, like PICO, that will help you identify key concepts of your research question and determine your study's inclusion/exclusion criteria.
Write a Protocol: A systematic review protocol describes the rationale, hypothesis, and planned methods of the review. It should be prepared before a review is started and used as a guide to carry out the review. Below are just a few resources that will help you write your protocol.
Conduct Literature Search: Identify appropriate databases and develop search strings in order to conduct detailed searches that can be documented and duplicated.
Select Sources: Select sources based on the inclusion and exclusion criteria you develop in your protocol. Citation management tools like RefWorks of EndNote will help you manage all of the literature you find.
Appraise & Analyze Sources: Review all selected sources to ensure they meet the criteria developed in your protocol and are not duplicate articles. Tools like Rayyan will be helpful as you review your sources.
Present Results: Follow reporting guidelines as you write your systematic review for publication. PRISMA is a popular reporting standard.
Librarians can help with each step of the process. If you are thinking about or working on a systematic review, librarians can help you and your team: