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Systematic reviews, scoping reviews and other evidence syntheses

Overview of evidence synthesis reviews and relevant strategies, tools and resources.

Screening search results

Once you have completed every component of your literature search and exported all of your search results, you will need to screen the entire pool of studies based on your pre-defined inclusion and exclusion criteria.

Steps in screening

1. Record the total number of studies retrieved from all sources - databases, grey literature, hand searching, etc.

2. Record the number of duplicate studies retrieved from all sources and then remove the duplicate citations from your pool of results

3. Title and abstract screening:

  • each reviewer scans the title and abstract for every study, applying the inclusion and exclusion criteria to determine relevance
  • If there is disagreement between two reviewers, a third reviewer must be used to cast a final vote on including or excluding the study
    • record the number of studies excluded by this step in screening

4. Full-text screening:

  • each reviewer reads the full text of the articles remaining after the first stage in screening, again applying the inclusion and exclusion criteria
    • record the number of studies excluded by this step of full text screening
    • this pool of articles will become the dataset for the review

Recording screening results

These resources from PRISMA will help ensure you record the flow of citations throughout the retrieval and screening process:

Software for screening

Rayyan

  • free web-based tool for screening results for evidence synthesis reviews
  • for more information, see this guide from McGill University Library