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Systematic Reviews: How-To in Detail

1. Assemble Your Team

In ideal circumstances, a systematic review team should consist of at least three people (2 screeners, 1 librarian), but can be much larger. You may want to include a statistician, for example.

It's important to consider who on the team will fill these roles:

  • Project manager/team lead - This person may assist in multiple parts of the systematic review, but they are responsible for seeing the project from initiation to completion. Tasks include corresponding with the librarian, ensuring team members stay on the project schedule, and managing the manuscript submission.
  • Screeners - Systematic reviews involve two rounds of screening, title/abstract and full-text. For both rounds, it is recommended that each article is screened by two individuals. Screeners need to have sufficient subject matter expertise to determine if articles should be included or excluded in the review. Conflicts between screeners may be resolved between the screeners or by a third party. At a minimum you will require two screeners. This is also true for data extraction and critical appraisal. 
  • Search specialist - Working with a librarian or information specialist to develop and implement your search is recommend by the major systematic review handbooks. The librarian will handle all aspects of the review related to search development and translation, importing of the articles into screening software, and provide general methodological advice. 
  • Statistician - Depending on the nature of your systematic review, particularly if you plan to conduct a meta-analysis, you may require significant statistical expertise. 


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