Systematic Reviews: A How-To Guide

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In addition to searching electronic databases, published and unpublished research may also be obtained by using one or more of the following methods. For those in the second category it is useful to record why the study failed to meet the inclusion criteria, as this increases the transparency of the selection process. The process for selecting studies should be explicit and conducted in such a way as to minimize the risk of errors and bias. For those in the first category it is usually adequate to record as an irrelevant study, without a reason why.


Retain component variables instead of compound variables whenever possible Clarify all aspects of social media networking sites essay team's workflow expectations Develop a naming convention for data to ensure clarity between team members Make frequent backups of your work, housed in different locations Systematic Review Management Software Systematic review management software tools are specifically tailored to the needs of systematic review teams.

Decisions to exclude studies may be reached at the title and abstract stage or at the full paper stage. This ensures that anything added to the database since the original search was conducted will be identified.

Data Extraction - Systematic Reviews & Meta-analyses - Research Guides at Virginia Tech

The search process should be documented in full or details provided of where the strategy can be obtained. It should be documented case study online to ensure it is reproducible see Figure 1. Each tool offers benefits and drawbacks: The reliability of the decision process is increased if all papers are independently assessed by more than one researcher, and the decisions shown to be reproducible.

For databases that do not include an update date field it may be better to run the whole search again and then use reference management software to remove those records that have already been identified and assessed.

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As already discussed, limiting searches to English language papers can introduce language bias. As this is in effect a search forward through time, citation searching is not suitable for identifying recent papers as they cannot have been referenced by other older papers.

Choice of data extraction tools for systematic reviews depends on resources and review complexity.

Documenting decisions It is important to have a record of decisions made for each article. Use that experience to fix any problems or solve any issues with the form.

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Parallel independent assessments should be conducted to minimize the risk of errors. When doing update searches the update data extraction tool literature review field should be used rather than the actual date. For example, restricting the searching to the use of electronic databases, which consist mainly of references to published journal articles, could result in the review being subject to publication bias as this approach is unlikely to identify studies that have not been published in peer reviewed journals.

Systematic Reviews: Data Extraction

The selection of studies from electronic databases is usually conducted in two stages: Throughout the review process the website should be continually updated with information about the studies identified. If resources and time allow, the lists of included and excluded studies may be discussed with the advisory group. It is important to err on the side of over-inclusion during this first stage.

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Guidance on documenting writing essay during interview different aspects of the searching process is given in Appendix 3. Lists of databases are available from libraries and from database providers, such as Dialog and Wolters Kluwer, while subject experts will be familiar with the bibliographic application letter quality manager in their field.

The extraction of data is linked to assessment of study quality in that both processes are often undertaken at the same time. Sufficient time early in the project should therefore be allocated to developing, piloting and refining the data extraction form. In addition, one member of the team should be responsible for identifying and removing duplicate references, ordering inter-library loans, recording the receipt of documents, and following up non-arrivals.

The aim of selection is to ensure that only relevant studies are included in the review. Stage 2: The Data Extraction Form Once a proposed data extraction form has been created in a selected software program: In addition to searching electronic databases, published and unpublished research may also be obtained by using one or more of the following methods.

This can lead to uncertainties, for example, about comparators and outcome measures.

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Data extraction tool literature review information specialist on the team is likely to know about networks of associated libraries and electronic resources that can be used for obtaining documents. This approach should identify a cluster of related, and therefore highly relevant, papers.

Data Extraction - Systematic Reviews - Research & Subject Guides at Stony Brook University

Options for current awareness include e-mail alerts from journals and RSS feeds from databases or websites. The easiest way to document the search is to record the process and the results contemporaneously.

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A meta-analysis requires pooling of data and specialized statistical analysis. It can also compensate for poor or inaccurate database indexing that can result in even the most carefully constructed strategy failing to identify relevant studies. Figure 1.


This page will focus on qualitative systematic reviews.