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Systematic Reviews- Legacy Guide (2014-2020): How Can the Library Help?

Created by Health Science Librarians

Contact HSL About Your Review

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Ready to start a systematic review? HSL Librarians can help!

Fill out the Systematic Review Request Form and the best-suited librarian will get back to you promptly. Our systematic review service is only available to faculty, staff, students, and others who are affiliated with UNC Chapel Hill.

The role of the librarian

According to the Institute of Medicine Standards for Systematic Reviews, the systematic review team should work with a librarian during the following steps:

3.1.1     Work with a librarian or other information specialist trained in performing systematic reviews to plan the search strategy
3.1.2 Design the search strategy to address each key research question
3.1.3 Use an independent librarian or other information specialist to peer review the search strategy

In addition to the standards outlined by the Institute of Medicine, a trained librarian can help with numerous steps throughout the planning, conducting, and reporting phases of your systematic review. With our specialized knowledge of the systematic review process, we can save you time and confusion by providing guidance on the systematic review process and the best practices for many of the steps along the way, as well as actively helping to develop and refine your topic, create systematic literature searches of all relevant databases, search the grey literature, and provide information for your PRISMA figure and Methods section.

Librarians have several roles in the systematic review process. Special emphasis is placed in the planning, conducting, and reporting phases of the review.

HSL Services

The librarians at the Health Sciences Library support the needs of UNC students and researchers conducting systematic reviews, comparative effectiveness reviews, and meta-analyses. Services range from Tier 1 Services, including basic consultations and trainings, to Tier 2 Services with a high level of involvement. In Tier 2 there is an expectation of authorship credit, grant funding, or the librarian becoming otherwise involved as a review team member, depending on the project and level of involvement. Our services are free to UNC affiliates, but providing funding guarantees a librarian will be able to devote a specific number of hours to contribute to your team. 

To discuss your SR topic, scope, and timeline, please fill out the Systematic Review Intake Form online. Once your form is submitted, a librarian will be in touch promptly. If you have quick questions about Systematic Reviews, please feel free to contact us via email, phone, or text. For more information, check out our HSL Systematic Review Services Brochure.

  SR Phase SR Step Tier 1 Services Tier 2 Services
  Planning Topic Development
  • Guidance on SR process and steps
  • Background searching for current and upcoming reviews
  • Help with development or refinement of review topic
    Development of Eligibility Criteria
  • Help with refinement of PICO (population, intervention(s), comparator(s), and Key Questions
  • Guidance on study types to include
    Protocol Creation & Registration
  • Guidance on protocol registration
  Conducting Searching for Studies
  • Identification of databases for searches
  • Instruction in search techniques and methods
  • Training in bibliographic citation software use for managing and sharing search results
  • Development and execution of searches
  • Downloading search results to citation management software and removing duplicates
  • Documentation of search strategies
  • Management of search results
    Study Selection
  • Guidance on methods for study review
    Data Extraction
  • Guidance on data extraction and management programs and repositories
  Reporting Writing/Publishing
  • Suggestion of journals to target for publication
  • Drafting of literature search description in Methods section
  • Guidance and information for PRISMA figure
  • Drafting of literature search appendix
  • Review of other sections or final draft