What is a systematic review?
AHRQ defines a systematic review as "a summary of the clinical literature. A systematic review is a critical assessment and evaluation of all research studies that address a particular clinical issue. The researchers use an organized method of locating, assembling, and evaluating a body of literature on a particular topic using a set of specific criteria. A systematic review typically includes a description of the findings of the collection of research studies. The systematic review may also include a quantitative pooling of data, called a meta-analysis."
What can a librarian help with a systematic review?
Librarians provide face-to-face consultations covering the processes and best practices for conducting a systematic review. It is designed to get the researcher started.
Librarians are considered full team members of the research team and conduct in-depth literature searches, assist with citation management, and write the literature search methodology for the final paper for publication.
Before you begin a systematic review, ask yourself:
If you answered “No” to any of the first four questions, a traditional literature review will be more appropriate to do.
General Biomedical Databases
Subject Specific Databases
Databases for Finding Reviews
Gray literature refers to "information produced on all levels of government, academics, business and industry in electronic and print formats not controlled by commercial publishing" ie. where publishing is not the primary activity of the producing body." — ICGL Luxembourg definition, 1997. Expanded in New York, 2004. They include conference abstracts or papers, hard to find studies, reports, or dissertations, governmental or private sector research, ongoing or unpublished clinical trials, etc.
Systematic Review Software
Rayyan: free tool (web and mobile app) for sorting articles into include/exclude status with labels.
Meta Analysis Software
Literature reporting using reference management software for systematic reviews:
Bramer, W.M., Giustini, D., de Jonge, G.B., Holland, L., & Bekhuis, T. (2016). De-duplication of database search results for systematic reviews in EndNote. Journal of Medical Library Association, 104 (3), 240-243. doi: 10.3163/1536-5050.104.3.014. Erratum in: Journal of Medical Library Association. 2017 Jan;105(1):111.
Bramer, W.M., Milic, J., & Mast, F. (2017). Reviewing retrieved references for inclusion in systematic reviews using EndNote. Journal of Medical Library Association, 105(1), 84-87. doi:10.5195/jmla.2017.111. PubMed PMID: 28096751
Lorenzetti, D. R., & Ghali, W.A. (2013). Reference management software for systematic reviews and meta-analyses: An exploration of usage and usability. BMC Medical Research Methodology, 13,141. PubMed ID: 24237877
King, R., Hooper, B., & Wood, W. (2011). Using bibliographic software to appraise and code data in educational systematic review research. Medical Teacher, 33(9), 719-723. PubMed ID: 21854149
Systematic Review Data Repository
The systematic Review Data Repository (SRDR) is a powerful and easy-to-use tool for the extraction and management of data for systematic review or meta-analysis. It is also an open and searchable archive of systematic reviews and their data.
You can use RevMan for protocols and full reviews. It is most useful when you have formulated the question for the review and allows you to prepare the text, build the tables showing the characteristics of studies and the comparisons in the review, and add study data. It can perform meta-analyses and present the results graphically. Down load RevMan here.
Cochrane Data Extraction Template
This template aims to help you start developing your own data extraction form, it certainly has to be adapted to your specific question. Delete unnecessary information and include all information important to your field.