As you are conducting your search, results are usually imported to a citation management tool or a spreadsheet to manage and document your results. After de-duplicating results, the remaining articles are selected for inclusion though a two-step process. To avoid bias, two investigators independently vote and review each article.
Selecting and appraising studies is a time-consuming aspect of conducting a systematic review. You may choose to utilize a software or tool to facilitate this process. See the Tools & Software tab.
Chapter 4 Section 6 of the Cochrane Handbook for Systematic Reviews of Interventions provides detailed guidance for study selection.
Below is a typical process for selecting studies for inclusion, according to the Cochrane Handbook. Your selection process should be documented in your review protocol.
From the Center for Evidence-Based Medicine (CEBM) from University of Oxford:
Critical appraisal is the systematic evaluation of clinical research papers in order to establish:
If the answer to any of these questions is “no”, you can save yourself the trouble of reading the rest of it.
CEBM Critical Appraisal Worksheets:
Additional Critical Appraisal Tools:
Cochrane Handbook for Systematic Reviews of Interventions
Campbell Collaboration: Meta-Evidence Blog
Catalog of Bias (CEBM & Oxford University)
Office of Health Assessment and Translation (OHAT) Division of the National Toxicology Program
The PRISMA checklist provides reporting guidelines for documenting the study selection process.
PRISMA checklist, item 9:
PRISMA checklist item 12:
PRISMA checklist item 17:
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