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Systematic Reviews and Evidence Syntheses: Resources for Completing Evidence Syntheses

A guide to the methodology of and resources for Systematic Reviews

Resources and Tools

Below are a few selected tools to help you throughout your project that you have access to either through Northeastern or for free.

For a more comprehensive list of tools (both free and paid) available to help with systematic reviews and other evidence syntheses, take a look at the Systematic Review Toolbox.

Use the links below to navigate to boxes, or scroll down to browse.

Tools for the beginning of your project

Tools to help manage independent screening

Tools for citation management and writing

Standards to guide your project

If you have any questions, or would like personalized recommendations for your project, please email:

At the beginning of your project

Before you begin your project, consider writing a review protocol with your team. Your protocol can describe the planning for the project, including a timeline, anticipated author contributions, and much more. You can find a template for systematic review protocols attached at the bottom of this box.

When creating a systematic review protocol, it can be useful to review PRISMA-P, the reporting standard for systematic review protocols.

Searching existing protocols and registering your own protocol:

PROSPERO is an international database of prospectively registered systematic reviews in health and social care, welfare, public health, education, crime, justice, and international development, where there is a health related outcome.

OSF Registries is a scholarly repository where you can find and deposit protocols for a wider range of advanced reviews and research projects. Deposits are not limited to systematic reviews, nor to reviews with health related outcomes.

For independent screening of records

Rayyan: A 'freemium' tool to help authors through the independent screening stages of evidence syntheses such as systematic reviews. Integrates with citation management tools, such as Zotero and EndNote. You can find our series of tutorials on using Rayyan here.

For citation management

Evidence synthesis projects, by their very nature, involve large numbers of citations. Using a citation management tool to save articles, format citations, and create bibliographies will save you a significant amount of time.

Which citation managers does the library support?

The Northeastern library supports EndNote, Mendeley, RefWorks and Zotero. We also support the use of BibTeX and LaTeX.

Which citation manager should I use?

While citation managers generally have the same basic functions, each one offers some specific features.

Our citation manager comparison chart (below) can help you identify the features that will work best for you. See also our tutorial on choosing a citation manager.

Standards to guide your project

There are a number of different standards that you can choose to follow. Which standard is best for your project is dependent on your discipline and the project you are completing. For more information on which is the best fit for your project, ask a librarian.

Standards for Systematic Reviews:

PRISMA Statement: Primarily used in the Health Sciences

Cochrane Handbook for Systematic Reviews of Interventions: Primarily used in the Health Sciences and considered the 'Gold Standard' of systematic reviews

Methodological Expectations of Cochrane Intervention Reviews (MECIR): Primarily used in the Health Sciences and used in conjunction with the Cochrane Handbook for Systematic Reviews of Interventions.

Joanna Briggs Institute Reviewer's Manual: Primarily used in the Health Sciences

Campbell Collaboration: Primarily used in the social sciences, Campbell Collaboration author guidelines are available under the Policies and Guidelines section of their Journal page. Campbell also has a page explaining what a systematic review is as well as additional information on Evidence and Gap Maps.

Collaboration for Environmental Evidence: Guidelines and Standards for Evidence Synthesis in Environmental Management

Standards for Scoping Reviews:

PRISMA Scoping Review Extension: Primarily used in the health sciences 

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