Need help with a review? Health Sciences Library experts and resources are here for UVA faculty, staff, and students for all types of reviews, from critical reviews, to mapping reviews, to scoping studies, and more. Both the Cochrane Collaboration and the Institute of Medicine recommend authors of systematic reviews work with librarians to identify the best possible evidence. Let us help you prepare your review with the best methods possible.
We fully support UVA faculty, students, and staff in their roles related to health and biomedical research and education, and in patient care. However, due to capacity and licensing limitations, we are unable to provide literature search services for professional society committee members and other professional organizational commitments of faculty. We applaud those professional medical societies that employ librarians to support these types of activities.
Librarian Participation Models
We offer two models for librarian participation in systematic and other review types, such as scoping and narrative reviews. Services below are generally limited to UVA Health faculty, staff, and students.
1. Consult model:
A librarian will discuss your topic, review any terms you have or show you how to develop search terms, advise on database selection, and give you an overview of the review process. Review teams then run their own searches.
2. Collaboration model:
A librarian is part of the review team and due to their contributions, co-authorship is expected. Librarian contributions may include the following:
Working on a systematic or other type of review? These guides and tools may be useful:
What Type of Review?
To determine what review is most appropriate for your question, timeframe, or resources, consult this decision tree graphic from U Maryland Health Sciences and Human Services Library
Also consult Systematic Reviews & Other Review Types from Temple University Libraries
A) The Process as a Whole
Systematic Reviews: A simplified, step-by-step process (UNC Health Sciences Library)
Think about where you would want to publish your review. What types of reviews does that journal publish? Check out the journal's website or use PubMed's Citation Matcher to search on your journal title, limiting your results to review to see what's been done.
Useful guides and articles on the basics (and more!) of systematic reviews
New to reviews? This multi-page guide does an excellent job detailing the many steps involved in a systematic review.
Systematic Reviews - Duke University Medical Library
Excellent overview; includes a helpful grid of Types of Reviews and a helpful
Evidence Synthesis & Literature Reviews - Harvey Cushing/John Hay Whitney Medical Library
A Guide to Evidence Synthesis: Steps in a Systematic Review - Cornell University Library
Text and videos provide an overview of the steps in a review with links to useful tools
Systematic Reviews - U Kentucky Libraries
Well-designed layout to lead you through the needed steps
Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analysis — Open & Free Self-paced, asynchronous full tutorial with exercises (developed for the Campbell Collaboration (social sciences).
"Analysing data and undertaking meta-analyses" (Cochrane Handbook, Ch. 10) covers the principles and various methods for conducting meta-analyses for the main types of data encountered.
Guidelines and tools are available to assist you with the planning and workflow of your review.
B) Specific Stages
Collecting your citations is an important step in any review. Software and web-based tools assist with this process. All of the following tools have features to help with both formatting your in-text citations and your bibliography.
Want help comparing these tools? See our Citation Managers guide.
Screening and Study Selection
Much of the work in a review involves managing the process of title and abstract screening and study selection. Fortunately there are tools that facilitate this process with features to import citations, screen titles and abstracts, etc.
Want to learn more? Check out these resources:
Tools for Creating Risk of Bias Figures