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Psychology: Systematic Reviews & Scoping Reviews (Research Synthesis ligbuide)

Finding the Evidence in the practice of EBM

This LibGuide is intended to assist you in the process of finding information (evidence) in the practice of Evidence-Based Health care, which is a systematic approach to health care problem solving which allows for the integration of the best available research evidence with expertise and patient values.  What is a systematic review? - Bandolier

The practice of EBHC involves a process of lifelong, self-directed learning in which caring for patients creates the need for important information about clinical and other health care issues. Research literature is constantly changing and therefore, to provide optimal care, healthcare professionals need to keep abreast of new developments to be able to offer care that works and eliminate the use of that shown to be harmful or ineffective.

   Services                                                                                                         These are examples of the range of systematic review and scoping review services  for which you might contact your faculty librarian

Guidance for teams on the systematic review or scoping review process, especially in terms of the literature searching component to establish best practice
Guidance on appropriate Prisma statements and formulation of research questions/search strategies
Collaborate on formulating and revising the review protocol
Assistance on locating resources, such as systematic reviews and other information resources
Brainstorming alternative  terms and keywords
Reviewing and providing general feedback on search strategies
Creating  and running of search strategies and running initial searches in at least two databases
Assisting and advising on translating the search strategy into various resource interfaces
Peer-review of search strategies using the 2015 Evidence-Based Checklist
Advising, assistance, support  with selection and use of databases
Identifying appropriate grey literature sources
Conducting searches together with researchers in at least two databases
Tips on managing search results 
Instruction on use of Mendeley and other research tools
Tips for conducting Systematic reviews / Scoping reviews with Mendeley          


What can a student or academic expect in a consultation?                  

Appointments are generally one hour long

Please provide the following when you book the initial consultation with your faculty librarian. This will allow your librarian to prepare beforehand and assist you more effectively during the consultation:

One good research question - preferably already in the PICO or PICo-model for a systematic review and PCC-model for a scoping review

Research protocol (not essential for the first consultation of a scoping review)

Initial terms and keywords you are considering using.

List of databases you  are considering or have run initial search/es in and the number of results for each

Two or three key papers you expect to be included in the review

Discussion of  all/any of he above, our services and/or  any of the below.

Extent of librarian involvement, training and experience.

Why appropriate literature searches and resources for reviews matter

Why are appropriate literature searches for Systematic reviews necessary?

Why are appropriate literature searches for Scoping reviews necessary?

Literature Search Consultations for medicine and health sciences search and patient care

Systematic reviews serve as a solid basis to serve patient care and EBM  as to establish the latest state of affairs.

The most recent and best studies (evidence) need to be found by means of a systematic literature search.

Your Faculty librarian is an expert in the efficient execution of the search.

The method requires a search in more than two sources, with a high sensitivity and complete search strategy.

See also the guidelines in the Prisma Statements, Cochrane Handbook, JBI Reviewer’s Handbook and PRESS process in the PRESS  statement.
Evidence for the role of the Faculty librarian in the literature searches and impact of librarians on reporting of  search component for systematic reviews can be found in the publications of Meert et. al. (2016)  Roffel (2015) and Rethlefsen et al. (2015).  Rethlefsen, Murad, and Livingston (2014: 1000) agree:  “Medical 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” and  Meert et. al. (2016) "indicate that having a librarian as a coauthor or team member correlates with a higher score in the literature searching component of systematic reviews".


Scoping reviews serve as to establish the gap in pool of literature

All appropriate studies need to be found by means of a broad, focused scoping literature search.

Faculty librarians are experts in the efficient execution of the search and it is important to consult your librarian as early on as possible in the process.

The method requires a broad focused search strategy in more than two sources, with a three- step process. It includes the searching of grey literature in order to find all appropriate literature. See also the guidelines in the Prisma Statements, Cochrane Handbook and JBI Reviewer’s Handbook.

Evidence for the role of the Faculty librarian in the scoping review searches can be found in the publication Morris, Boruff and Gore (2016:347).

Our Faculty librarians with knowledge of information sources and the review process, provide one-to-one consultations to support students and staff undertaking reviews

Assistance and support for the literature search accordingly to ensure best  practice.

Assistance and support needed for the search strategy such as  training, guidelines, data requirements, subsidy-requests, open access publishing requests, bibliometric search requests, PICO's and adaptations thereof;

Search strategy construction, using.Boolean logic, appropriate search strategies and techniques  and tools.

Assistance on reference management

Assistance in finding the difficult to find full-text articles

Important information to consider

information and reference management: mendeley  - publishing in open access     - research data management,  SUNScholarData, RedCap for SU    - researcher id: ORCID - obtaining full-text of difficult to find articles >  Interlibrary loan service

How to conduct a Systematic Review

Resources on conducting of Systematic Reviews


New E-Book

Reporting Guidelines

Pre-Registration of reviews and key sources for finding ongoing trials/ unpublished studies

Evidence-based Clinical practice resources

EBM Tools/Evaluation & critical appraisal

Clinical Practice Guidelines

Overview tutorials, Libguides & workshops


How to conduct a Scoping Review

Sources of gray/grey literature

Searching with Pubmed MeSH

Useful tools