Skip to main content

Systematic Reviews: Analysis & Synthesis

A guide to conducting systematic reviews.

Critical Appraisal Worksheets

Critical Appraisal Worksheets:

  • Worksheets from the Centre for Evidence Based Medicine in Oxford
  • Worksheets from the Centre for Evidence Based Medicine in Toronto

Comprehensive Systematic Review Software

RevMan (review manager, software from the Cochrane Collaboration for preparing systematic reviews)

  • Free for individual users

EPPI-Reviewer (review manager, software from the Evidence for Policy and Practice Information and Coordinating Centre at the University of London)

  • Free trial

Need Help?

 

        

Visit the Reference Desk.

(Mon. - Thurs., 9am - 6pm, and Friday, 9am - 5pm.)

Email us your question.
   Call us: 718.430.3104 
(Mon. - Thurs., 9am - 6pm, and Friday, 9am - 5pm.)
Text us

Text us: 718.407.0761

(Mon. - Thurs., 10am - 6pm, and Friday, 10am - 5pm.)

Virtual Consultation

Call us at 718.430.3104. We'll show you how it's done -- on your own computer.

(Mon. - Fri., 10am - 4pm)

Search our FAQs.

 

Study Inclusion/Exclusion

The decision criteria and process must be decided before the review begins. The review of the search results is usually conducted in two phases:
  • Review title/abstract
  • Review full-text

At least two independent reviewers are needed, with a third person available to resolve conflicts.

Keep a log of excluded studies with reasons for exclusion. Simple Excel spreadsheets can be designed to track the process. 

Data Extraction & Quality Assessment

For studies selected for inclusion:
  • What data will be extracted?
  • What software will be used? Programs include:
  • What are the procedures for extraction
    • Number of reviewers
    • Dispute resolution process
  • Will authors be contacted for further data?
  • What is the translation process?

What criteria will be used for the quality assessment of the included studies? What process will be followed for the quality assessment?

  • Number of reviewers
  • Dispute resolution

How will the quality assessment be used in analysis?

Data Analysis and Synthesis

Things to consider:
  • Meta-analysis and/or narrative analysis?
  • Measures of heterogeneity
  • Outcomes of interest
  • Effect measures to be used
  • Subgroup analysis plans
  • Publication bias analysis

For quantitative data:

  • RevMan for simple forest plots
  • SPSS or Stata for more complex queries

For qualitative data:

  • ATLAS.ti to code and analyze blocks of text/audio files (fee based)