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Systematic Reviews

What Your Librarian Can Do

Librarians with expert searching skills are available to assist researchers, review teams and graduate students in developing  effective search strategies for comprehensive reviews such as systematic reviewsscoping reviewsintegrative reviews, etc.  


For those students, a librarian can help you in:

  • Identifying relevant databases
  • Identifying and combining relevant search terms
  • Exporting search results into a citation/review manager
  • Identifying sources of grey literature
  • Identifying other means of finding relevant studies

Depending on the research question, number of databases and available librarian time, it takes around 1-2 weeks for the librarian to consult and/or develop all search strategies. 


For those who plan to publish their review, here's how a librarian can help: 

  • Literature Searching (not including hand searching the literature).
  • Refining the research questions and planning the search strategy. 
  • Pinpointing appropriate databases and grey literature.
  • Providing all search strategies and number of results for each database, as well as date searched. 
  • Exporting results into a citation manager like Endnote or Zotero
  • Removing duplicates from the EndNote or Zotero library, and providing a final count of documents.
  • Writing the search methodology section, if requested.
  • This service is fee based:
    • $25 per hour, with the first hour being free
    • We accept MoCode or Check

Depending on the research question, number of databases and available librarian time, it takes around 4-6 weeks for the librarian to consult and/or develop all search strategies. 

Before you Meet With A Librarian

To get a better sense of your project, we suggest making an appointment with a librarian. 

Before your consultation, we suggest you do the following prior to the consultation:

  • Educate yourself about the type of review you will be undertaking
  • Familiarize yourself with the processes involved for that type of review
  • Develop a protocol/proposal for your prospective review
    • If you have already developed a protocol/proposal, provide this to the librarian you will be meeting with.
    • If you haven't already developed a protocol/proposal, take a look at how to create one. 
  • Find 2-5 articles that fit your research question.
  • If you do not already have some basic familiarity with search principles, consider viewing Finding Health Literature: Keys to Searching PubMed, CINAHL & Scopus

Finding Full Text Articles

Your librarian is not the appropriate person to obtain the physical articles. It is a fairly easy, though time consuming, task that we are happy to show you or someone on your team how to do.

It is doubtful that we own every article you will need to look at so be sure to plan for the expense of inter-library loan (ILL). Inter-library loan is a service provided to you by MU Libraries that will obtain articles we don't own on your behalf. 

Anticipate your costs appropriately for a systematic review by adding a budget for the expense of collecting articles