Collections and Library Services

Systematic Review Services and Resources



Need help with 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.


Claude Moore Health Sciences librarians are active partners in the development of rigorous systematic reviews.

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.

Levels of Participation
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.

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.

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:

  • formulate research question
  • investigate whether there is already a published systematic or scoping review on your topic or whether there is one currently under development
  • assist with protocol registration
  • recommend databases to be searched, and run the search
  • de-duplicate search results
  • advise on (or manage) choice of screening software/platforms
  • manage PDF availability for full-text screening
  • complete the PRISMA flow diagram 
  • write the search methods section of the review manuscript and provide appropriate documentation (e.g. full search strategy for one database)
  • approve the final manuscript

Contact Us

To work with a librarian on your systematic review, contact us:


Review Resources

Working on a systematic or other type of review? These guides and tools may be useful:


Useful guides and articles on the basics (and more!) of systematic reviews

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.


Guidelines, Manuals and Protocols

Guidelines and tools are available to assist you with the planning and workflow of your review.

  • PRISMA provides a checklist, flow diagram, and other guidance for reporting
  • AHRQ Methods Guide for Effectiveness and Comparative Effectiveness Reviews
  • PROSPERO is a prospective registry of health-related systematic reviews 

Additional Guidance

Selected guides we've found useful for planning and executing the various stages of your review:

Managing References

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.

  • EndNote is a powerful software tool for Windows or Mac. EndNote 20 is available at the discounted price of $249.95 ($115.95 for students) via Cavalier Computers. It helps with collecting references as well as PDFs.
  • Zotero is a free product and is especially feature-rich in terms of capturing citation information for web pages and other document types. 

Want help comparing these tools? See our Citation Managers guide.

Need help learning one of these tools? Contact us and we'll be happy to assist.

 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:

Read more from this article comparing Covidence and Rayyan (Couban, 2016)

Another comparison of Covidence and Rayyan (Kellermeyer, 2018)

SR Toolbox - look up a tool to learn more, or, search by features you want the tool to support (e.g. data extraction).

Goldet G, Howick J. Understanding GRADE: an introduction. J Evid Based Med. 2013 Feb;6(1):50-54. doi: 10.1111/jebm.12018. PMID: 23557528.

Tools for Creating Risk of Bias Figures

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