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Systematic and Literature Reviews


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.

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?

   Use existing Critical Appraisal Tools to assist in analysis.


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

  • Export to a spreadsheet for analysis.
  • Export to a reference manager for write up.
  • Export the search strategy to Word for inclusion in the final article.

Use these functions to minimise manual handling of articles.