Evidence summaries and systematic reviews

Evidence summaries and systematic reviews require thorough literature searches and good routines for documentation and reporting. The library offers support in several stages of the process.

The process of making a evidence summary or a systematic review can roughly be diveded as follows:

The research question

In order to develop the research question, the research librarians contribute particularly to two stages; to ensure that no commenced or recently performed review articles exist on the same subject, and that the research question can be answered with literature.

Literature search

Here, the research librarians contribute to developing search strategies that find the relevant literature to be reviewed in order to answer the research question.

  • Selecting relevant bibliographic databases
  • Develop and customize search strategies
  • Document the search strategy, both flow chart and search history
  • Download and submit hits, including duplicate removal

Review of hits

The number of hits in a systematic review can be reviewed in several ways and in several formats. Usually one starts with a review of title and abstract and then examines the relevant articles in full text. We deliver the search results as you wish, as an excel file, or files from EndNote that can be uploaded to systematic review software.

We can offer guidance in using the screening tool Rayyan.

Analyzes

The essence of the review article is the analysis work, the research librarians are usually not involved in this.
We can to some extent assist in designing tables of included studies.

Reporting and publishing

For some types of review articles, it is required that searches must be performed by librarians or information specialists. Here, the research librarians are co-authors and therefore contribute to the reporting of searches and search sources in the method section of the review article.

Many journals require review articles to be performed according to a reporting standard, the most well-known in the health subjects is PRISMA. Therefore, consider current journals for publishing early in the work on a review article.