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Systematic Reviews: Home

Overview - Systematic Review Process


  • Time: 6-18 months to complete a systematic review since search results typically yield several thousand citations.  Please consider another type of search if you are unable to spend 6-18 months reviewing citations. More info
  • Requestor: Limited to full-time Cleveland Clinic caregivers at Main Campus/FHC due to high volume of requests who will serve as principal investigator and primary contact with librarians.  Due to the time commitments involved with systematic reviews, library staff are unable to provide these services for students, part-time employees or other temporary project personnel.  Library continues to provide regular literature search services for students, part-time employees, and temporary project personnel.
  • Team: Minimum of 2-3 members to minimize bias.  Suggest including subject experts, librarians for help with search strategies, statisticians for help with data analysis
  • Initial literature search: make sure no one else has published systematic review on the topic

Summary of the Process

  1. Develop a clearly defined research question using PICO or similar tools  More info
  2. Determine inclusion/exclusion criteria, such as: types of studies, minimum number of participants, ages, gender, language, or date restrictions
  3. Write and register protocol to document methodology  More info
  4. Develop a search strategy, test, then run in multiple databases. Search for additional articles in grey literature, registries, hand searching journals, and checking references in articles
  5. Screen title/abstracts. First pass to select articles matching protocol criteria  
  6. Obtain/read full text of articles that passed screening to determine eligibility.  Document reasons why articles are included/excluded
  7. Analyze articles for data, quality, and bias
  8. Write review and submit for publication

How can the Library help?


  • Conduct literature searches
  • Document the search process
  • Upload results into EndNote or Covidence
  • Write search methodology section of paper

Request a Systematic Review

  1. Complete our systematic review preparation form (Please use Google Chrome browser to access this form.)
  2. Contact us to schedule a consultation

Acknowledgement / Authorship

  • At minimum, an acknowledgement of the librarian's contribution to the systematic review is requested
  • Co-authorship is requested if librarians write/edit parts of the paper

Systematic Review Availability

Systematic Review Team

  Mary Pat Harnegie

  216-444-7335 Alumni Lib
  216-491-7454 So Pointe

  Mary Schleicher


  Loren Hackett


  Theresa Kline


  Neil Nero


Contact us

This guide was adapted from Systematic Reviews: the process at Duke University.