Systematic Reviews: Tools & Resources
There are specialized tools to help with each step of a systematic review.
- SR Toolbox
- Searchable web catalog of tools that support various tasks of the systematic review process.
- AHRQ Effective Health Care Program Tools & Software
- Training modules on review processes, data repositories, tools for screening and analyzing data.
- Cochrane RevMan
- Software to facilitate the writing and editing of protocols and full reviews, perform meta-analysis of data, and produce graphics.
- CADTH Finding the Evidence: Literature Searching Tools in Support of Systematic Reviews
- Search aids, strategies and checklists for comprehensive searches.
- ISSG Search Filters Resource
- Search filters by specific study design or focus.
Sources for locating clinical trials include:
- ClinicalTrials.gov from the U.S. National Library of Medicine
- International Clinical Trials Registry Platform from the World Health Organization (WHO)
Citation management tools can help you keep your sources organized, can help you collaborate with others, can insert formatted citations into your paper, and format your reference list. UNE provides access to RefWorks , but other options like Endnote, Zotero, or Mendeley may also be helpful or integrate with review tools or software.
A systematic review protocol describes the rationale, hypothesis, and planned methods of the review and should be prepared before a review is started. Review protocols should be made publicly available in a registry or database such as:
- Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews
- Campbell Collaboration
- Open Science Framework (OSF) Registries
These tools can help review teams efficiently screen the large number of abstracts necessary to perform an exhaustive search for relevant literature on your topic. Some may require registration or a subscription.
- Johanna Briggs Institute Critical Appraisal Tools
- Checklists to assess the quality of research for many review types.
- GRADE Working Group
- Grading criteria for assessing of evidence in health care
- Centre for Evidence Based Medicine Catalogue of Bias.
- Comprehensive catalog of the different types of bias to be on the look for as you appraise research.
Software for data extraction and statistical analysis.
- SPSS – available on Library computers
- Meta-Essentials for Excel
- Python Meta
- NHS Statistical Process Control Tool
The most widely accepted standard for reporting systematic reviews is PRISMA (Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analysis).
Publishers may require other specific standards or guidelines. Check the literature for your discipline. Here are some examples of discipline-specific reporting guidelines:
- the EQUATOR Network
- Reporting guidelines for health research by discipline with a searchable database.
- RePorting standards for Systematic Evidence Syntheses (ROSES)
- Conservation and environmental research.
- APA Style Journal Reporting Standards (JARS)
- Quantitative, qualitative, and mixed-methods reporting standards in the behavioral sciences.
Detailed guides to the systematic review process and published standards.
- An Introduction to Systematic Reviews [print book]
- Doing a Systematic Review: A Student’s Guide [print book]
- Cochrane Handbook of Systematic Reviews of Interventions [ebook and print book versions]
- Finding What Works in Health Care: Standards for Systematic Reviews [ebook]