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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  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
  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 Team

  Mary Pat Harnegie

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

  Mary Schleicher


  Marian Simonson


  Loren Hackett


Contact us

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