PCD logo

Systematic Review Checklist


checkboxThe article is of interest to PCD readers.

checkboxThe article fits the mission of the journal to address the interface between applied prevention research and public health practice in chronic disease prevention.

checkboxThe title accurately reflects the content of the manuscript.

checkboxThe structured abstract (with headings Introduction, Methods, Results, and Conclusion) accurately reflects the content of the manuscript.

checkboxThe review is systematic in that it collates and summarizes all relevant data on a particular topic.

checkboxThe article is not overly influenced by the opinions and biases of the authors.

checkboxThe manuscript adds substantially to what is already known about the topic.

checkboxThe manuscript is clearly and concisely written and is free of jargon.

checkboxThe manuscript is divided into the following sections: Introduction, Methods (including Data sources, Study selection, and Data extraction), Results, and Discussion. Each section of the manuscript includes the appropriate elements. The sections are clearly delineated.

checkboxThe review was properly conducted.

checkboxThe citations are up to date and relevant.

checkboxAll statements requiring citations has citations.

checkboxThe Acknowledgments identify funding for the study.

checkboxThe article has no more than 3,500 words. There is no limit to the number of references.


checkboxThe abstract accurately reflects the content of the manuscript.

checkboxThe abstract has the following sections: Introduction, Methods, Results, and Conclusion.

checkboxThe abstract has no more than 300 words.


checkboxThe review question is stated.

checkboxThe importance of the review question is explained.

checkboxA general reader would be able to understand the review question and its importance.

checkboxThe precise primary objective of the review is stated.

checkboxThis section is no more than 300 words.

checkboxThe authors appear to know their subject.


The Methods section includes the following 3 subheadings: Data sources, Study selection, and Data extraction.

Data sources

checkboxThe search strategy is described.

checkboxThe data sources are clearly identified and succinctly summarized.

checkboxThe exact years searched are identified.

checkboxThe search uses the most current information possible; the search was conducted no more than several months before the manuscript was submitted.

checkboxAll potential data sources were considered in the search.

checkboxThe exact search terms used to identify and retrieve articles are stated.

checkboxSearch constraints are cited.

Study selection

checkboxInclusion and exclusion criteria for selecting studies for detailed review are described.

checkboxThe specific disease, population, intervention, methodologic design, or outcome being studied is highlighted.

checkboxThe method used to identify and apply the inclusion and exclusion criteria is stated (eg, consensus, multiple reviewers).

checkboxOf the studies identified initially, the proportion that met the selection criteria is stated.

Data extraction

checkboxThe guidelines used to extract data are described.

checkboxThe guidelines used to assess data quality and validity are described.

checkboxThe section includes information on how the guidelines were applied (eg, independent extraction by multiple observers).


checkboxThe main results of the review are stated in the first paragraph.

checkboxThe results are well described.

checkboxThe results are specific and relevant to the review question.

checkboxAll results reported have a corresponding section in the Methods section. (In other words, for each result reported, a reader would be able to ascertain how the result was obtained by referring to the Methods section.)

checkboxFor numerical results, measures of data distribution or precision (eg, SD, 95% CI, SE) are given.

checkboxImplications or weaknesses of the review and the rationale for the search and selection procedures used are not discussed in this section.


checkboxThe review question is addressed.

checkboxStrengths and weaknesses of the study are objectively evaluated.

checkboxEqual emphasis is given to positive and negative findings of equal scientific merit.

checkboxA lengthy reiteration of the Results section is avoided.

checkboxStudy findings are compared and contrasted with findings of similar studies.

checkboxUnexpected findings are mentioned with suggested explanations.

checkboxLimitations of the study are discussed.

checkboxThe generalizability of the results is discussed.

checkboxImplications for public health are discussed.

checkboxSpeculation and overgeneralization are avoided.

checkboxIf appropriate, future potential studies are suggested.

checkboxThe section ends with a clear, concise conclusion that is directly supported by the study findings.

checkboxThe interpretation of the data is limited to the domain of the review.

Tables and Figures

checkboxThe tables and figures are well constructed, easy to comprehend, and visually appealing.

checkboxThere are no more than 3 tables or 2 figures or a combination of 5 items.

checkboxInformation in the tables or figures is not duplicated in the text.

checkboxInformation in the tables or figures is consistent with information in the text.

checkboxNumbers add up correctly.

checkboxThe tables and figures are able to stand independently; they do not require explanation from the text.

The opinions expressed by authors contributing to this journal do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the Public Health Service, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, or the authors’ affiliated institutions.

Page last reviewed: May 2, 2022