How to write a systematic review for a medical journal in 8 simple steps

How to write a systematic review for a medical journal in 8 simple steps


Workflow diagram

Create the first draft

  1. Figure out search terms and use them in PubMed, Google Scholar, and similar search engines
    • Track date of searches and number of results
  2. Select articles of search results based on the title
    • Track the number of selected articles
  3. Filter articles based on abstract, language, duplication, and other criteria of your choice
    • Track selected articles, rejected articles, and reasons for rejection
  4. Read through articles in random order and isolate sentences of value and importance in logical groupings
    • E.g. Epidemiology, Clinical findings, Imaging, Pathophysiology, Management
  5. Paraphrase grouped sentences
  6. Add important filler information about the topic from respective specialty textbooks
    • E.g. definitions, standard symptoms, standard treatment protocols, etc
  7. Submit your article to journals of your choice until you receive a positive answer
  8. Make the necessary corrections and resubmit until the article is accepted


  • You can create a draft abstract before writing the whole paper
    • After the article selection, create a summary of all the abstracts you have found based on a standard abstract structure and base on the additional information you want to include
  • You can submit this draft abstract to conferences as a poster
  • You can create the poster from the abstract information
  • Follow the Prisma checklist ( )