SCIE Research resource 1: SCIE systematic research reviews: guidelines (2nd edition)

By Deborah Rutter, Jennifer Francis, Esther Coren and Mike Fisher.

Published: December 2010

SCIE has a commitment to producing rigorous, high-quality knowledge products. Central in this process is the systematic research review, which combines different types of research knowledge about a social care related topic, drawing on evidence of effectiveness, the views of users and providers, and organisational issues. This guidance updates and clarifies SCIE’s expectations, updating the original guidance (2006). It also introduces SCIE’s new approach to assessing the economic impact of social care practices. The guidelines provide a comprehensive guide to the conduct of SCIE research reviews, and are organised to describe processes which may also support other products.


A SCIE systematic research review is one way in which a question about social care can be explored. It is a suitable option when there is a large research literature on the topic. It may be supplemented by a SCIE practice enquiry, which explores knowledge not reported in the research literature and generates examples of good practice. A systematic review will also normally describe the background to the review, including contextual knowledge provided by policy, regulation and legislation.


The aims of this resource are to ensure:


This guidance is primarily for use by SCIE employees in commissioning work and for use by all researchers who undertake SCIE research commissions. It is likely to also be of interest in the academic community and for those such as students, practitioners and educators who read SCIE knowledge reviews

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