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Systematic Reviews & Evidence Based Reviews

An overview of systematic reviews and other evidence-based reviews.

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Systematic reviews with librarian co-authors have higher reproducibility, higher quality search strategies, improved documentation reporting, and better meet reporting standards (Rethlefsen et al, 2015).

Librarians can work with you on your systematic review or your evidence-based synthesis as either a consultant or a co-author:

Consultant: As a consultant, a librarian can step in at different points of your review. This level of work is recognized as an acknowledgement of the librarian in your final report. Examples of consultant-level work include:

  • Provide background information and resources on the systematic review process
  • Recommend databases, protocol registration platforms, and citation management software
  • Suggest edits for your search strategy. As a consultant, your librarian can provide up to 15 hours of support throughout the project. (These hours may vary depending on the project).

Co-Author: Co-authoring is a more substantial commitment, and a librarian will typically devote more than a year to partner with you on your evidence-based review. As a co-author, the librarian will be more hands-on and can:

  • Select databases and grey literature resources
  • Write the search strategy
  • Translate searches to syntax of all databases
  • Perform searches and export them to citation management software
  • Comment on the protocol
  • Perform de-duplication, or train your team on the process
  • Advise on the use of article screening software
  • Write a portion of the methods section specific to searching

If you are an IU Bloomington faculty, student, or staff interested in pursuing a systematic review or evidence synthesis project, please reach out to Thea Atwood, who will work with you to discuss your project and your needs. Please be advised that due to staff availability, the number of requests, and the large time commitment required, there may be a delay before a librarian is ready to start working on your project.

[Consultant & Co-author information from Cornell University Library, Evidence Synthesis: How Librarians Can Help, 2022]