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Med Teach. 2018 Nov 3:1-7. doi: 10.1080/0142159X.2018.1513642. [Epub ahead of print]

Twelve tips for undertaking a focused systematic review in medical education.

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a School of Medicine, University of Central Lancashire , Preston , UK.
b Families Division , Blackpool Victoria Hospital , Blackpool , UK.
c School of Medicine, University of Liverpool , Liverpool , UK.
d School of Health Sciences, University of Central Lancashire , Preston , UK.
e Faculty of Clinical and Biomedical Sciences , University of Central Lancashire , Preston , UK.
f Faculdade de Medicina Universidade de Lisboa , Lisboa, Portugal.
g University of Michigan Medical School , Ann Arbor , MI , USA.


The exponential growth of the systematic review methodology within health has been mirrored within medical education, allowing large numbers of publications on a topic to be synthesized to guide researchers and teachers. The robust, transparent and reproducible search methodologies employed offer scholarly rigor. The scope and scale of many reviews in education have only been matched by the size of the commitment needed to complete them and occasional lack of utility of reports. As such, we have noticed a growth in reviews across journals in the field that have questions that are more focused in scope. The authors propose 12 tips for performing a focused review in the right settings for the right reasons and discuss why such "focused reviews" may be more beneficial in those circumstances. Focused reviews allow researchers to formulate answers to specific local issues that have explicit utility of findings. Such reviews are equipped to identify what works for specific groups in specific circumstances and even question how and why this may occur. An additional impact of a focused approach can be a rapid turnaround. This article explains the purpose and benefits of focused review and provides guidance on how to produce them.

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