practitioners, service commissioners, policy-makers and researchers to inform decision-making, as the body of
evidence available about speech-and-language therapy grows. Although systematic reviewing is developing to
incorporate new methods of review and synthesis, there are currently limitations in the use of some types of
systematic reviews within speech-and-language therapy.
Aims: The purpose of this paper is to provide an overview of the steps involved in the systematic review process and
the range of options available. It highlights some challenges to using this process in speech-and-language therapy,
with examples based in part on the authors’ experiences of involvement in two systematic reviews. A number of
developments in systematic review methodology will be outlined and several new approaches to reviewing, both
within and outside of speech-and-language therapy, are introduced. These include realist synthesis, evidence-based
practice briefs, speech BITEe and the journal Evidence-Based Communication Assessment and Intervention.
Main contribution: This paper highlights some of the current benefits and limitations of systematic reviews in
speech-and-language therapy. It will facilitate readers to use and carry out systematic reviews in the speech-andlanguage
Conclusions: Systematic reviews are useful in speech-and-language therapy, but awareness of their limitations is
important to practitioners, commissioners, policy-makers and researchers. New developments may further increase
the benefits of systematic reviews.