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Systematic Reviews: Before you begin...

Subject Guide prepared by QUB Subject Librarians that will help you decide if a systematic review is right for your project, and guide you through the systematic review process
Welcome to the Library’s Systematic Review Subject Guide

New to systematic reviews?

This Subject Guide page highlights things you should consider before and while undertaking your review. 

The systematic review process requires a lot of preparation, detailed searching, and analysing. It may take longer than you think to complete!

Image of a laptop and a notepad and pen on a wooden desk

Any questions? Contact your Subject Librarian.

Before you begin your review...

Please be assured that your Subject Librarian will support you as best they can. 

Subject Librarians are able to show QUB students and staff undertaking any type of literature search (e.g. literature review, scoping review, systematic review) how to:

  • Structure searches using AND/OR
  • Select appropriate databases
  • Search selected databases
  • Save and re-run searches
  • Export database results
  • Store and deduplicate results using EndNote
  • Identify grey literature (if required)

At peak periods of demand, Subject Librarians might not be able to deliver all of the above. Please contact your Subject Librarian for guidance on this.

QUB students and staff must provide Subject Librarians with a clear search topic or question, along with a selection of appropriate keywords and synonyms. Students should discuss these with their supervisor before contacting Subject Librarians.

Subject Librarians are unable to do the following for QUB students and staff:

  • Check review protocols
  • Peer review, or approve, search strategies        
  • Create search strategies from scratch
  • Search databases or grey literature sources
  • Deduplicate results
  • Screen results
  • Demonstrate systematic review tools (e.g. Covidence, Rayyan)
  • Create PRISMA flowcharts or similar documentation

Subject Librarians do not need to be listed as review co-authors. However, if reviewers wish to acknowledge the input of a specific Subject Librarian, they should contact the relevant Subject Librarian to ensure appropriate wording.