Systematic Review Support
What is a systematic review?
A systematic review is a research method that is designed to answer a research question(s) by identifying, coding, appraising, and synthesizing a group of studies investigating the same question(s). This method is utilized in disciplines such as education, behavioral and social sciences, medicine, public health, and others to answer a variety of questions: effectiveness of an intervention or policy, prevalence, tests/diagnosis, and more.
Who can use this service?
Systematic review support is open to all OU-Tulsa faculty and staff-led systematic reviews, scoping reviews, rapid reviews, and more.
What does this service offer?
- Provide guidance on research syntheses methodologies, including standards and guidelines
- Advise on database selection
- Assist in the construction of database searches and translation to other databases, including the identification of keywords and subject terms
- Explain how to use software tools to facilitate the management and screening of citations
How do I utilize this service?
Email Stewart Brower to get started.
Steps of a Systematic Review (PIECES)
- P: Plan
Decide on the methods of the systematic review before conducting it.
- Use Campbell Collaboration (MECCIR) Conduct Standards and Searching for Studies: A Guide to Information Retrieval for Campbell Systematic Reviews (Feb 2017) as guides.
- Identify search terms, including keywords, synonyms, and subject headings to search selected databases.
- Perform scoping searches in selected databases (to find background literature that may help you refine your research question and set inclusion/exclusion criteria).
- Set inclusion/exclusion criteria (such as specific aspects of a population; types of interventions, outcomes, and study designs; and limiters such as publication date range and language.
- I: Identify
Systematically search for studies using predetermined criteria.
- Finalize selection of databases to search.
- Design a search strategy using subject headings, keywords, Boolean operators, and/or proximity operators for each database.
- Export results from each database into a citation management program such as RefWorks or EndNote.
- Remove duplicate citations using the citation management program, save remaining citations as an RIS file, then import the RIS file into Rayyan.
- Document the process using PRISMA flow diagram. See also: PRISMA Flow Diagram Generator.
- E: Evaluate
Sort all retrieved articles into included or excluded categories; then assess the risk of bias for each included study.
- First screening (use exclusion criteria to exclude studies): Sort (screen) studies in Rayyan - based on article title and abstract - and mark as exclude, include, or undecided. McGill University Library has a very helpful guide: Rayyan for Systematic Reviews. For additional assistance, please contact TAMU librarians - not the McGill librarians.
- Second screening (use inclusion criteria to include studies): Load PDFs into Rayyan for studies marked as include and undecided; then mark as include or exclude based on screening of the full text.
- Assess quality of included studies. Example quality criteria are available in Standard Quality Assessment Criteria for Evaluating Primary Research Papers from a Variety of Fields.
- C: Collect/Combine
Create a coding form to capture study characteristics; then synthesize data qualitatively or quantitatively.
- Use Google Forms or other software to create a coding form.
- E: Explain
- Contextualize synthesis results, noting strengths and weaknesses of the studies.
- S: Summarize
Report or describe methods and results in a clear and transparent manner.
- Use Campbell Collaboration (MECCIR) Reporting Standards as a guide.
- Use the PRISMA Checklist to report methods. For more detailed guidance use the PRISMA Statement and PRISMA Elaboration & Explanation documents.
Resources & Tools
- Protocol Registers
- PROSPERO: Registry of reviews with health related outcomes.
- Joanna Briggs Institute: Protocol/title registry for reviews on health related topics. Includes qualitative and quantitative.
- Preclinical Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis Facility
- Systematic Reviews for Animals & Food (SYREAF) Protocols
- Campbell Collaboration: Education, Disability, Crime and Justice, Business and Management, International Development, Nutrition, and Social Welfare
- Reporting Standards
Preferred reporting items for systematic reviews and meta-analyses
Enhancing the Quality and Transparency of Health Research
Meta-Analysis of Observational Studies in Epidemiology
Methodological Expectations of Cochrane Intervention Reviews (MECIR)
Standards for the the conduct and reporting of new Cochrane Intervention Reviews, reporting of protocols and the planning, conduct and reporting of updates.
- Cochrane Handbook for Systematic Reviews of Interventions
The official guide to preparing and maintaining Cochrane systematic reviews on the effects of healthcare interventions.
- Cochrane Public Health Instructions for Review Authors
Cochrane resources for systematic reviews on public health topics.
- Campbell Collaboration - MECCIR Standards
Includes documents for conducting and reporting systematic reviews in education and social sciences. Last updated May 2017.
- Campbell Systematic Reviews: Policies and Guidelines
Version 1.3. Last updated November 2017
- Searching for Studies: A Guide to Information Retrieval for Campbell Systematic Reviews
Based on chapter 6 of the Cochrane Handbook, provides guidance on the information retrieval process including literature sources, planning and executing searches, and documentation. Last updated Feb 2017.
- What Works Clearinghouse - Procedures Handbook
Produced by the Institute of Education Sciences (IES) within the U.S. Department of Education.
- EPPI Centre guide to conducing systematic reviews in education
Develops methods for SRs and research synthesis in education and social sciences; based within the department of Social Science, University College London.
- PRISMA Statement
Includes links to the PRISMA checklist and diagram. An evidence-based minimum set of items for reporting systematic reviews and meta-analyses. Focuses on randomized trials, but can also be used interventions.
- PRESS Checklist
The PRESS (Peer Review of Electronic Search Strategies) Checklist was produced by the Canadian Agency for Drugs and Technologies in Health (CADTH), as a guide for librarians and information specialists in evaluating electronic search strategies.
- Cochrane Handbook for Systematic Reviews of Interventions
- Software Tools
- Rayyan QCRI
Free web application developed at Qatar Computing Research Institute (Data Analytics) to help authors manage, screen, and collaborate on SRs.
- Practical Meta-Analysis Effect Size Calculator
From Campbell Collaboration
From the EppiCentre. "MetaLight is a software application designed to support the teaching and learning of meta-analysis." Freely available and uses the Silverlight browser plugin.
- Google Forms
One resource for creating the coding form.
- PRISMA Flow Diagram Generator
To document the number of citations in the various steps of the SR searching, collecting, and screening process.
- SR Toolbox
A catalog of tools that can be used to support the SR process.
- Rayyan QCRI
- Citation Management Tools