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Systematic Reviews & Meta-Analyses

Guidelines vs. Guidelines vs. Guidelines

Guidelines are documents containing rules, principles, or standards researchers are expected to follow as they conduct and report research. When it comes to guidelines for systematic reviews, you will encounter several types of guidelines:

How to choose guidelines and standards

The guidelines you choose will depend on

  • Review type (scoping review, mapping review, systematic review, meta-analysis)
  • Discipline (health sciences, social sciences, environmental sciences)
  • Population (e.g., trees, children, open-access articles)
  • Journal requirements
  • Collaborative Networks (e.g., Campbell Collaboration)

Get help!

Not sure which guidelines are right for you? Contact our Systematic Review Service for a consultation with one of our subject experts!

General Guidelines


Education, Social, and Behavioral Sciences

Environmental Research

ROSES (RepOrting standards for Systematic Evidence Syntheses in environmental research)

  • ROSES forms will help review authors to ensure that all relevant methodological information is reported in their review, and will help editors and peer-reviewers to critique the reliability and validity of a review.
  • Guidelines for protocols and reporting
  • Recommended for systematic reviews and mapping reviews.

Collaboration for Environmental Evidence (CEE) Guidelines for Systematic Reviews in Environmental Management

  • Latest guidelines for the commissioning and conduct of SR in environmental management. 

Health & Medical Sciences

Cochrane Guides & Handbooks

  • Cochrane is an international network for systematic reviews in health and medicine with headquarters in the UK. It provides access to protocols and reviews as well as guides and handbooks for conducting and reporting Cochrane systematic reviews

Cochrance MECIR (Methodological Expectations of Cochrane Intervention Reviews)

  • Standards for the conduct and reporting of new Cochrane Intervention Reviews, reporting of protocols and the planning, conduct and reporting of updates


There are no formal guidelines for meta-analyses in neuroimaging. Current best practices are below. 

Ten simple rules for neuroimaging meta-analysis.

  • Müller, V. I., Cieslik, E. C., Laird, A. R., Fox, P. T., Radua, J., Mataix-Cols, D., Tench, C. R., Yarkoni, T., Nichols, T. E., Turkeltaub, P. E., Wager, T. D., & Eickhoff, S. B. (2018). Ten simple rules for neuroimaging meta-analysis. Neuroscience & Biobehavioral Reviews, 84, 151–161.