As evidence-based practice has become an important issue in healthcare settings, the educational needs for knowledge and skills for the generation and utilization of healthcare evidence are increasing. Systematic review (SR), a way of evidence generation, is a synthesis of primary scientific evidence, which summarizes the best evidence on a specific clinical question using a transparent, a priori protocol driven approach. SR methodology requires a critical appraisal of primary studies, data extraction in a reliable and repeatable way, and examination for validity of the results. SRs are considered hierarchically as the highest form of evidence as they are a systematic search, identification, and summarization of the available evidence to answer a focused clinical question with particular attention to the methodological quality of studies or the credibility of opinion and text. The purpose of this paper is to introduce an overview of the fundamental knowledge, principals and processes in SR. The focus of this paper is on SR especially for the synthesis of quantitative data from primary research studies that examines the effectiveness of healthcare interventions. To activate evidence-based nursing care in various healthcare settings, the best and available scientific evidence are essential components. This paper will include some examples to promote understandings.
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