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Systematic Reviews

Citation Management Tools

  • EndNote: citation management software that allows you to import citations, organized them into folders and remove duplicates, as well as to format bibliographies and manuscripts.  DoIT offers it for $85 for current MU faculty.
  • Zotero:  citation management software comparable to EndNote. Use the Groups feature to create a shared group for your systematic review.  Free.

Screening Tools

  • Covidence is a not-for-profit service dedicated to improving the use of evidence in healthcare decision-making. It's the primary screening and data extraction tool. Cochrane recommends it as the primary screening and extraction tool for systematic reviews.
  • Cadima is a freely available online tool that supports the conduct of systematic reviews by guiding review authors through the evidence synthesis process. 

Statistical Programs

The University of Missouri has the SAS, SPSS, and STATA available through Software Anywhere. The following statistics software is also available for purchase:

  • SAS - Available for $65 per license    
  • SPSS - Available for $65 per license

The Social Sciences Statistics Center at Mizzou offers consultating services: 

Yale MeSH Analyzer

The Yale MeSH Analyzer is a tool you can use to compare the MeSH used for articles you have identified for your review already. It creates an analysis grid that helps easily identify the terms used for each article. Below is a how-to video:


Registering your Protocol

A systematic review protocol states your rationale, hypothesis, and planned methodology.  Members of the team then use the protocol as a guide for conducting the research.  It is recommended that you register your protocol before conducting your review.  Registering your protocol will improve transparency as well as alerting other researchers of your intentions so efforts are not duplicated.

Where to Register Your Protocol

Guidelines for Reporting Systematic Reviews

  • University of Kentucky's DMPTool: UK Libraries has developed a protocol development tool that is freely. You will find a template with detailed guidance and examples. Please do not use DMPTool to register your protocol, you will need to download the PDF and register it.
  • Table 3

    Elements of the STARLITE mnemonic


    Explanatory notes

    S: Sampling strategy

    • Comprehensive: attempts to identify all relevant studies on the topic
    • Selective: attempts to identify all relevant studies but only within specified limits
    • Purposive: samples from specific disciplines, years, journals

    T: Type of studies

    • Fully reported: describes actual study types (e.g., grounded theory) or designs to be included
    • Partially reported: uses an ‘‘umbrella’’ category such as ‘‘qualitative studies’’ without defining what this means

    A: Approaches

    • Approaches other than electronic subject searches (see below)
      • Example: hand-searching
      • Citation snowballing

    R: Range of years (start date–end date)

    • Fully reported: includes start and end dates with justification for time period chosen
    • Partially reported: includes start and end dates but only determined available coverage of databases

    L: Limits

    • Functional limits that are applied for logistic reasons but do not alter the topic conceptually (e.g., human, English etc.)

    I: Inclusion and exclusions

    • Conceptual limitations that mediate the scope of the topic area (e.g., geographical location, setting, or a specific focus of study)

    T: Terms used

    • Fully present: example of a sample search strategy from one or more of the main databases
    • Partially present: reports terminology used but without evidence of search syntax and operators

    E: Electronic sources

    • Reports databases used and, optimally, search platforms and vendors to assist in replication