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MDRP Portal

Organising your material

Once you have searched your chosen databases

  1. Scan abstracts
  2. Screen IN or OUT
    • Use your inclusion/exclusion criteria to quickly make decisions.
  3. If IN then obtain full text.
  4. Keep notes. Consider a table for annotations.This allows you to attribute comments and findings correctly when writing up - a massive time saver.
    • Tip. Export results from the database straight to Excel - no handling required!
  5. Note leads for follow up - new search terms, expert authors, highly cited papers.
  6. First read - for impression, decision on inclusion.
  7. Second read - critically analyse
    • study design appropriate?
    • population 
    • biases
    • methodology
    • conclusions consistent with results?
    • underlying assumptions?

The writing process builds on this stage. While organising and analysing the literature, you may ...

  1. Identify themes
  2. Note areas of consensus or dissent
  3. Start to arrange articles into categories:
    • thematical, chronological, methodological, significant advancements - the choice depends on topic.

Remember. Most databases allow results to be exported into various formats.

  • Export to a spreadsheet for analysis.
  • Export to a reference manager to write up.

Use these functionalities to minimise manual handling of articles.