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Criminology Master Thesis: Systematic review

Article selection

Start by examining the titles and abstracts of the included studies, to remove studies which don't meet your eligibility criteria. Then go on to retrieve the full text of the potentially relevant studies. Next step is to determine if the seleced studies comply with your eligibility criteria.

Do the studies comply with your eligibility criteria?

When deciding if a study complies with your eligibility criteria you can ask the following questions:

  • Study population: Which population is studied?
  • Study design: Which study design is used? Qualitative or quantitative method?
  • Currency: Are the results of the study still current?

Once you have decided on which studies to include you can start the data collection.

Critically appraising the selected studies

Criteria used for critically appraising studies are in large parts the same for qualitative and quantitative studies. The studies shoud all include a clearly defined research question and the sample, method, analysis and the results should all be clearly described. But since quantitative methods are used for numerical relationships in a way qualitative methods don't the questions you can use are a bit different.

Quantitative studies

  • Research question: Is the hypothesis clearly stated?
  • Study population: Is the study population described?  How large is the study population?
  • Sample: How was the sampling done? Is it a controlled sample? Is it randomized and if so, how?
  • Data collection: Is the chosen data collection method suitable according to the research question?
  • Results (Outcome): What are the results and is it reliable?

Qualitative studies

  • Research question: Is the research question clearly stated? Is it suitable to use a qualitative method according to the research question?
  • Sample: How was the sampling done?
  • Data collection: Is the chosen data collection method suitable according to the research question?
  • Analysis: Is it clear how tha analysis was done? Is it based on data?
  • Role of the researcher: Has the researchers examined their own role in the research process as well as their bias?
  • Results (Outcome): Are the results clear? Does it seem reasonable?