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Syracuse University Libraries

Systematic Reviews

General procedures to help guide researchers through the elements of a systematic review

Why a team is important

A systematic review team is essential to producing a sound systematic review. Team members work together in order to define their research question, develop a comprehensive search strategy aimed at mitigating bias and an effective workflow, and adhere to appropriate methodology, professional standards, and review guidelines. Teams may be as small as two people (although not recommended) or larger. Team members may have more than one role depending on their expertise and varying degrees of activity throughout each stage of the project. Ideally a team would include:

  • Content experts
    • 2 reviewers
    • 1 tie breaker
  • 1 statistician (for meta-analysis)
  • 1 or more information professionals (librarian or informationist trained in systematic reviews)

Librarians or Informationists, as they are sometimes referred to in some institutions, are essential to any systematic review team for their expertise in navigating the information landscape. Their expertise is instrumental in thinking through initial question development, developing the scope or research plan, identifying tools to be used, constructing and documenting the search strategy which would include use of Boolean operators, help in broadening terminology, and applying validated filters (like Clinical Queries, InterTASC, HIRU hedges, and more).

It's at this stage where authorship and acknowledgements should be negotiated.