Real World Reviews: A Beginner’s Guide to Undertaking Systematic Reviews of Public Health Policy Interventions

Bambra C. (2011). Real world reviews: A beginner's guide to undertaking systematic reviews of public health policy interventions. Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, 65(1), 14–19.

Example available Journal article


This guide offers a succinct overview of the process for conducting a systematic review. It provides practical tips and suggestions to increase the speed of production and reduce the labour intensity while maintaining high methodological standards.

Steps for Using Method/Tool

The guide outlines the stages of developing a systematic review, considering the following practical aspects:

  • Developing the question
  • Developing the protocol
  • Conducting a comprehensive search
  • Selecting studies according to strict inclusion criteria
  • Extracting data, including critical appraisal of studies
  • Synthesizing studies using meta-analysis or narrative synthesis
  • Interpreting results in terms of research, policy and practice implications
  • Writing up and publishing the review, ensuring the methods of the systematic review are clearly described and limitations are acknowledged

These summaries are written by the NCCMT to condense and to provide an overview of the resources listed in the Registry of Methods and Tools and to give suggestions for their use in a public health context. For more information on individual methods and tools included in the review, please consult the authors/developers of the original resources.

We have provided the resources and links as a convenience and for informational purposes only; they do not constitute an endorsement or an approval by McMaster University of any of the products, services or opinions of the external organizations, nor have the external organizations endorsed their resources and links as provided by McMaster University. McMaster University bears no responsibility for the accuracy, legality or content of the external sites.

Have you used this resource? Share your story!