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Systematic Reviews Track in 2020 Summer Research Programs

This guide is intended for use by the students who choose Systematic Reviews (SR) as their 2020 Summer research program. It includes resources and tools that they can use to conduct SRs.


Like other research projects, a systematic review also starts with a good plan. During the planning stage, the researchers form a team with various and appropriate experience and expertise in the topic, statistical analysis, as well as systematic review methods. The key points in the planning phase are:

  • Developing a topic
  • Formulating an answerable research question
  • Defining inclusion and exclusion criteria for study selection
  • Deciding tools for managing and screening tools
  • Preparing and depositing the protocol 
  • Understanding what tools to use for study evaluation and assessment of risk of bias. 
  • Following PRISMA guideline for reporting

Select Health Sciences Bibliographic Databases

Developing Search Strategies

In systematic reviews, developing an executable search strategy requires much time to test, test, and test. This is a very time consuming but very important step. Without a good search strategy, it will not be possible to perform exhaustive literature searches. This is the foundation on which all the subsequent steps of a systematic review are based on. So be patient and be prepared for this crucial phase.

Strategy Development is a guide developed by another health sciences librarian to inform researchers of the steps, PICO (T), and useful links for search hedges. 

Below are the tutorials (via Health Instruct Tutorials) that help you to learn how to develop a search strategy and PICO questions. Note: You need to log in via your NetID to access these tutorials.

Would you like to know how well you understand how to develop a search strategy? Feel free to take this quiz (NetID login is required):


How to Search Databases


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