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Systematic Reviews

This guide lists resources related to conducting a Systematic Review.

Screen results & select studies

After exporting all results from your chosen databases (and other sources if relevant), multiple reviewers will make decisions on which articles to include and exclude based on the inclusion/exclusion criteria in your protocol. The first stage of screening is usually based on titles and abstracts, then a full text analysis follows before any data extraction.


  1. Pre-screening: Record the numbers of results from each database or source recorded before screening commences.
  2. Title/abstract screening: Each reviewer will need to scan titles and abstracts to see if they match the criteria or have some value to the systematic review. This is done separately by each reviewer to ensure minimal bias. Results are then compared until a consensus is reached.
  3. Full-text screening: Reviewers look through the full-text of included articles to fine-tune the final collection of articles that will contribute to the review.

Document your results

A PRISMA (Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta Analyses) diagram depicts the flow of information through the different phases of a systematic review. It maps out the number of records identified, included and excluded, and the reasons for exclusions (Page et al. 2021).

Any boxes in grey should only be completed if applicable. If not applicable these boxes should be removed from the flow diagram.

Note: A "report" could be defined as a journal article, preprint, conference abstract, study register entry, clinical study, dissertation or thesis, unpublished manuscripts, white papers, government document or any other document providing relevant information (Page et al. 2021)

Prisma 2020 chart



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