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Systematic Reviews: A How-To Guide

Overview of systematic review steps and resources to assist researchers conducting reviews


Systematic Reviews Workshop Series

Workshop 1: Setting Yourself Up for Success

This workshop covers what is needed to plan your systematic review (or other evidence synthesis review) and create a review protocol that can be used to guide you through the review process. Topics to be covered in this session:

  • Defining your question
  • Creating your protocol
  • Picking databases
  • Developing inclusion/exclusion criteria
  • Pre-scan of the literature and identifying seed papers
  • Analyzing seed papers
  • Keywords and subject headings

Workshop 2: Developing Your Data Collection Strategy

This workshop covers the key concepts/skills needed to create a data collection strategy for your review project. Creating a comprehensive search strategy that is designed to capture as many relevant studies as possible and is validated using a test set, is similar to designing your data collection method in an experimental study. It requires careful planning as well as knowledge of how databases work. Topics to be covered:

  • Elements of a comprehensive search
  • Designing and building a comprehensive search in one database
  • Saving searches
  • Validating searches using a test set
  • Data management practices

Workshop 3: The Next Steps: translating, tracking, reporting and study selection

This workshop covers the remaining steps of the data collection phase of your systematic review/knowledge synthesis review project and introduce you to the study selection process. Topics to be covered:

  • Translating searches from one database to another
  • Supplementary search techniques
  • Reporting guidelines (PRISMA)
  • Exporting records from databases
  • Deduplicating using Covidence
  • Study selection process

To find the next offering for this workshop series, see the University of Victoria Libraries workshop calendar.

To request a customized version of this workshop series for your course or department, please email Zahra Premji (

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This work by The University of Victoria Libraries is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License unless otherwise indicated when material has been used from other sources.