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Systematic Review Service

Systematic Review Service

The Systematic Review Service at the Health Sciences Library is designed to connect researchers and healthcare providers with librarians who are knowledgeable about the systematic review process, and able to provide the expert searching that is essential for creating high quality systematic reviews.

The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine recommends that those undertaking a systematic review, “work with a librarian or other information specialist trained in performing systematic reviews to plan the search strategy.”  (Standard 3.1.1) 

It is recommended that librarians be included from the outset in the systematic review process.  This because: 1) librarians can provide important input regarding the assignation of tasks, timeline generation, etc., and 2) search construction and database searching requires time and effort (the exact time required for each review varies and you should contact a librarian for more information) (for more information on systematic review timelines, see the Cochrane Handbook for Systematic Reviews of Interventions), so bringing in a librarian right at the beginning of the process can translate into the review being completed at the earliest possible date. 

Below are some of the ways a librarian can be of assistance with a systematic review:

  • Investigating whether or not your topic has already been sufficiently covered in an existing systematic review
  • Determining which databases and grey literature sources need to be included
  • Contributing to the development of a protocol and posting it to a service such as Prospero
  • Searching systematically across databases, repositories, and elsewhere
  • Translating a research question or statement into expert search strategies which are customized for each database, and take full advantage of the suite of search tools offered by each database (e.g. subject headings, field searching, filters, etc.)
  • Collecting and storing citations either in a bibliographic management software such as ZoteroRefWorks or EndNote, or, storing citations in a systematic review software such as Covidence
  • Writing the search portion of the review’s methodology section
  • Assisting in making sure the systematic review adheres to reporting standards (e.g. PRISMA), as well as any journal specific guidelines

A librarian’s part in the systematic review process represents a significant scholarly contribution to the research project.  As such, it is expected that a librarian participating in a systematic review will be named as a co-author in the final manuscript of the review or a co-investigator or consultant in a grant proposal.  Click here for more information. 

For more information on Systematic Reviews, please explore the rest of our Systematic Review Subject Guide.

To request librarian participation in your systematic review project, please click on the "Request Assistance" link below.  A librarian will be in touch with you shortly thereafter.

Still Have Questions?  Contact us.