Q. What is a systematic review?
What makes something a systematic review instead of just a regular review article? What makes something a meta-analysis?
Most review articles you will see will be regular literature review articles where the author(s) want to summarize what is known about a topic.
A systematic review is a much more detailed investigation into a focused clinical question. A systematic review can take years to complete.
A meta-anlysis is a type of systematic review where the studies chosen are similar enough that their data can be pooled for statistical analysis.
This poster clearly explains the differences between systematic reviews and literature reviews:
Kysh, Lynn (2013). What's in a name?: The difference between a systematic review and a literature review and why it matters. [figshare]. Available at http://dx.doi.org/10.6084/m9.figshare.766364 .