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Systematic Reviews

PRISMA Flow Diagram & Diagram Generator Tool

Your systematic review can be documented using the PRISMA Flow Diagram: 

The PRISMA flow diagram visually summarises the screening process. It initially records the number of articles found and then makes the selection process transparent by reporting on decisions made at various stages of the systematic review. Numbers of articles are recorded at the different stages. When you're excluding articles at the full-text stage, it is important to include the reasons for exclusion.

See the Prisma2020 site for more information including all available downloads for Statement and Flow Diagram.

Screening Results

Screening your results

Once you have completed your searches and used a reference manager (such as EndNote or Mendeley) to export your results, you can then begin screening your results. Screening can be done using EndNote or you can use a screening tool eg Covidence (your references can be exported from EndNote to Covidence).  

You can commence the selection of relevant studies based on the inclusion and exclusion criteria. This process is usually done by 2-3  independent reviewers so as to control selection bias and minimise the risk of excluding any relevant studies. When there is disagreement between reviewers then discussion can occur to decide outcomes. 

Example of a screening workflow 
  1. Remove duplicate records from your results

  2. Examine titles and abstracts to exclude articles that don't meet the inclusion criteria

  3. Find the full text of relevant articles

  4. Keep together any reports referring to the same study

  5. Screen full-text articles against criteria for inclusion

  6. Make any final decisions on study inclusion