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Trinity College Dublin, The University of Dublin

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Doing a Systematic Review

A concise guide to the steps involved in systematic, scopic and related reviews

Do you need further help?

Advice and training

If you are seeking advice on running a review, your Subject Librarian can help. In this case we ask that the individual librarians are mentioned in any published output. We can:

  1. Assist you to run a scoping search with a limited number of search terms to confirm if your question is suitable for performing a systematic review
  2. Provide advice on which databases to use, and guidance on how to search within them systematically
  3. Offer advice on how to use EndNote and Covidence as part of the screening process

Assistance with undertaking the review

Many researchers are asking the Library to construct and run, rather than merely advise on, their search strategy and to manage the process of exporting the results to EndNote and Covidence. In this case, we ask that the librarian undertaking the work is a named co-author on any publications, as a part of the team that has undertaken the work.

You should approach your Subject Librarian, before setting up the team, to discuss the project. The librarian who later joins your team may be your Subject Librarian, or another member of the Subject Librarian team, depending on capacity and appropriate expertise.

Among the aspects on a review the Library can undertake are some or all of the following:

  1. Devise a sample search string in collaboration with a subject expert on your team, and run a systematic search across multiple databases
  2. Export results from databases into EndNote and deduplicate to leave discrete articles
  3. Provide guidance on using Covidence and import results into it ready for screening
  4. Search for and upload PDFs of full text when appropriate
  5. Record article numbers as appropriate to create a PRISMA diagram
  6. Write the relevant search strategy statement in subsequent publications
  7. Provide search strategies for appendices etc.

Examples of previous Library-assisted reviews

The following are the ORCID profiles of three of our Subject Librarians, who have all undertaken numerous reviews, as examples of the sort of studies we join as co-authors. However, please contact your own Subject Librarian first if contemplating a review, not these staff directly.