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Systematic Reviews (in the Health Sciences)

Guidance for conducting health sciences systematic reviews.

Screening Process


Screening Best Practices

  • Two independent reviewers for each screening step
  • Third reviewer to mediate any conflicts
  • Utilize inclusion/exclusion for screening decisions
  • Ensure common understanding of how to apply inclusion/exclusion criteria. This is best done by having each reviewer review a set number of abstracts and then discussing the decisions as a group
  • Not all abstracts will have sufficient information to make a decision. It is better to include and then exclude them at the full-text stage then miss out on potential studies
  • Be over-inclusive at the Abstract Screening stage. Full-text screening will be more stringent

Systematic Review Software

Some teams choose to use the same software or tool for screening, selection, and data extraction. Other teams choose to use one software or tool for screening and selection and another tool for data extraction.  

USC Libraries Supported Software

Freely Available Software

Paid Software

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