Literature search & systematic reviews
Literature search & systematic reviews
Academic reviews serve as a solid basis as to establish the latest state of affairs on a specific topic. Authors of scoping reviews, systematic reviews and meta-analyses should aim to include all available relevant studies. The systematic literature search therefore needs to be of the highest quality.
Strict guidelines for literature search are laid out in the Prisma Statements, Cochrane Handbook, JBI Reviewer’s Handbook and PRESS process in the PRESS statement. These guidelines dictate that, at the very least, two databases need to be searched with a highly sensitive and complete search strategy.
The UM Library Information specialists are experts in the efficient execution of systematic literature searches. Research indicates that support by an information specialist increases the quality of the literature search and reporting of the search (Meert et al., 2016; Roffel, 2015; Rethlefsen et al.,2015).
“Librarians bring expertise to the review process based on their understanding of the medical literature, search methods, and review guidelines and standards. Their neutrality and expertise can help minimize bias in the review process, leading to more robust and unbiased review articles” Rethlefsen, Murad & Livingston (in JAMA, 2014, p. 1000)
Our team of information specialists use established guidelines when advising research teams about the systematic review process. The Library offers two service levels for systematic reviews: basic support (free) and full support (charged except for: CARIM-affiliated PhD candidates and researchers). Both services start with an intake interview. Not sure which service is right for you? Don’t worry. Your information specialist is happy to discuss which one is most suitable for your needs during the intake interview.
Please complete the form below and one of our information specialists (Gregor Franssen, Marieke Schor, Nicolette Siep) will contact you to schedule an intake interview (without costs).
This option offers a free consultation on the following topics:
- development of an effective research question
- discuss your search term selection optimized for PubMed
- recommend databases to include in the search
- review your search strategy
- provide instruction on advanced database searching techniques
- provide instruction on the use of citation management software (Endnote) for organizing retrieved references.
Note that the information specialist does not perform the search, (s)he only provides guidance and feedback.
The second option expands significantly on the basic support. Similar to the basic support package, the information specialist will help you to:
- develop an effective research question
- develop a search strategy optimized for PubMed
- select other appropriate database to include in the search
- review the overall search strategy.
Moreover, the information specialist will advice and help you to:
- translate your optimised search to other databases
- run the final searches in the selected databases
- combine all search results in one Endnote library.
The final product of the full support is an Endnote library containing all bibliographic records identified in the search.
Systematic review support request form
After many fights with PubMed and other search engines, we got great help to solve our issues and to make our search more comprehensive.
Unfortunately, not all PubMed-fights could be resolved but I’m still more confident about the search that we ended up with!
Ilona and I received some good personal help when developing our search strategy for a systematic review.
It is recommendable to consult the library when starting a systematic review.
The librarian gave me some very practical tips, for example using EndNote and posed some critical questions that made my approach much more robust and easier to reproduce.
At the end of my scoping study, I presented it again to the librarian. I found his tips and assessment of my work, in a relatively short time, very valuable.
The library staff was very helpful and showed me the ins and outs of a good literature search in the relevant databases of my research field. It is great to get tips from an expert, who is enthusiastic to help you out.
The subject of my thesis has only been tentatively explored in the scholarly literature. As such, I’ve had some trouble finding useful academic sources.
The librarian came to the rescue by suggesting some useful ways of tracing relevant publications (snowballing) but also helped me brush up on my search strategy and offered tips on making it more efficient.
Contact & Support
For questions or requests, use the web form to contact a topic specialist.