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Systematic Reviews: Home

Overview - Systematic Review Process


  • Time: 6-18 months to complete a systematic review
  • 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
  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
  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

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

Request a Systematic Review

  1. Complete our systematic review preparation form
  2. Contact us to schedule a consultation

Expert Searchers for Systematic Reviews

  Mary Pat Harnegie

  Medical Librarian, Alumni Library
  Manager, South Pointe Hospital Library
  216-444-7335 Main Campus
  216-491-7454 South Pointe Library

  Mary Schleicher

  Medical Librarian, Alumni Library

  Marian Simonson

  Assistant Director, Alumni Library

  Loren Hackett

   Medical Librarian, Alumni Library


Contact us

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