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How long does it take to do a systematic review?

At SystematicReviewPro, one of the questions we frequently receive from our clients is how long it takes to complete a systematic review. First and foremost, I would like to distinguish between two aspects of this inquiry. The first aspect is “how long does it take to do a systematic review,” while the second aspect is “how long does it take to write a systematic review.” The first aspect focuses on the entire process of conducting a systematic review, whereas the second aspect specifically addresses the writing phase of the process.

I will address these two aspects separately. I have formulated my responses based on my extensive experience as a seasoned systematic reviewer and my collaborative work with other systematic reviewers in our company to carry out systematic reviews for our clients.

The Systematic Review Process

Before we delve into the answers to the two questions above, let’s start by breaking down the entire systematic review process. It consists of the following stages.

The first stage is the development of the systematic review protocol. Although optional, a published systematic review protocol will inform others interested in your topic that a systematic review is already in progress. This will prevent them from duplicating your topic and efforts. In my experience, it can take anywhere between 2 weeks and one month to prepare a systematic review protocol that meets publication standards.

The second stage is the development of a search strategy and the searching of databases. This can take approximately one month.

The third stage is the screening of abstracts obtained from various databases. This is one of the most time-consuming endeavors, and it can take up to 2 months depending on the number of abstracts that need to be screened. In most cases, you have to screen between 400 and 10,000 abstracts, based on our experience. This can be shorter or longer depending on the topic you’re working on.

The fourth stage, which is also very time-consuming, involves screening the full texts. After identifying articles from abstract screening, the next step is to screen their full texts. Depending on the number of articles, this stage usually takes approximately 4-6 weeks to complete.

At this point, you have identified eligible studies for your systematic review. The next step, stage five, is to extract data from the studies. This is also a time-consuming process, usually taking up to one month depending on the number of eligible articles.

Depending on your approach, you may decide to assess the risk of bias before extracting data. But for now, let’s refer to it as stage six of the systematic review. This is also time-consuming and can take up to 2 weeks to finish.

Finally, before engaging in the writing process, you may need to synthesize the extracted data first. It is moderately time-consuming and can take 1-2 weeks to complete, depending on the amount of data involved.

How Long Does It Take to Write a Systematic Review?

Now that you have completed all the necessary steps, the next task is to prepare the write-up. This is a time-consuming activity that typically takes about one month to finish. It is important to note that writing a systematic review is the final stage of the process, and the one-month timeframe does not include the time spent on the previous stages of the process. Please keep this in mind to avoid any confusion.

How Long Does It Take To Do a Systematic Review?

This is now a question about the entire systematic review process, including the writing part. Based on our analysis, the systematic review process, from the development of the protocol to the completion of the review, can take approximately 6-12 months. Our observation is consistent with others. Is this time frame too lengthy? Absolutely, yes!

At SystematicReviewPro, we understand that one of the challenges our customers face is the significant amount of time required to complete this process. In fact, we have observed that some individuals encounter uncertainties along the way, leading them to abandon the review halfway through, resulting in a waste of time and resources. We are committed to helping anyone conducting a systematic review expedite the process. By entrusting us with the entire process, we can produce a review that is ready for publication within 5-10 days. We achieve this by deploying experts to work on different stages simultaneously. This accelerates certain stages, such as abstract and full-text screening, as well as the writing process. Please contact us at [email protected] or simply place an order or a free inquiry using the buttons below.

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