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Systematic Reviews

The Librarians Role

Librarians can partner on systematic reviews.  This is very time consuming work so it is critical that the Librarian is able to work closely with the review team to ensure shared understanding is established.

Add us to your team (CRediT acknowledgement for investigation - evidence Collection) and we will design and manage complex, thorough searches in multiple databases and provide results in an EndNote Library.

Searching to support the production of a systematic review is complex and time consuming - it takes weeks to months depending on the topic.

Librarians will provide you with search strategies and results as required by the 2009 PRISMA Statement for Reporting Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses of Studies That Evaluate Health Care Interventions: Explanation and Elaboration.  This includes documentation of search results into the PRISMA Flow Diagram.

Steps involved include:

  • Determining if a systematic review has already been done on a topic.
  • Translating the research question/s into an appropriate search strategy.
  • Translating the search concepts into controlled vocabulary and keywords so that both precision and recall are maximized.
  • Choosing databases and other information sources (such as clinical trial registries)  to be searched.
  • Conducting the literature searches across all the information sources chosen and collating search results into an EndNote Library.
  • Maintaining records of search results and following up with alerts and updates as needed.
  • Providing guidance and support with EndNote to manage citations and produce bibliographies.
  • Writing the literature search methodology section for the submitted manuscript.
  • Completing the search results elements of the PRISMA flow diagram.
  • Providing documentation of searches to ensure searches may be reproduced.

Database combinations to retrieve systematic reviews in overviews of reviews: a methodological study - BMC Medical Research Methodology - 1 June 2020

Errors in search strategies used in systematic reviews and their effects on information retrieval - J Med Libr Assoc - April 2019

Systematic review searches must be systematic, comprehensive, and transparent: a critique of Perman et al - BMC Public Health - 4 February 2019

Defining the process to literature searching in systematic reviews: a literature review of guidance and supporting studies - BMC Medical Research Methodology - 14 August 2018

Analysis of the time and workers needed to conduct systematic reviews of medical interventions using data from the PROSPERO registry - BMJ Open - 27 February 2017

Book on the topic:
Booth, Andrew
Systematic approaches to a successful literature review / Andrew Booth, Diana Papaioannou, Anthea Sutton.
Thousand Oaks, CA : Sage Publications, c2012.