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Expert Search: Support for Systematic Reviews and Other Evidence Synthesis


College of Osteopathic Medicine: please contact the Medical Librarian.

College of Health Sciences: please contact the Health Sciences Librarian.

Non-health/medical disciplines: please contact the Scholarly Communications Librarian.

What is a Systematic Review?

There are many types of evidence synthesis projects. One of the most familiar is a systematic review. A systematic review attempts to collate all empirical evidence that fits pre-specified eligibility criteria in order to answer a specific research question. The key characteristics of a systematic review are:

  • a clearly defined question with inclusion and exclusion criteria;
  • a rigorous and systematic search of the literature;
  • two phases of screening (blinded, at least two independent screeners);
  • data extraction and management;
  • analysis and interpretation of results;
  • risk of bias assessment of included studies;
  • and report for publication.

The selection of review type is wholly dependent on the research question. Not all research questions are well-suited for systematic reviews.

Expert Search Services

Librarians may be available to partner with SHSU faculty, staff, and students to author systematic reviews, scoping reviews, or other comprehensive literature searches. Please review our policies and information below to get started.

Levels of Service

Librarian as Consultant

  • Provide overview of the systematic review (SR) process
  • Inform researcher of SR standards
  • Assist researcher with formulating the research question
  • Suggest databases for searching
  • Guidance on data management and journals for publication as needed.

Librarian as a Member of the Research Team

  • Design the search strategy *
  • Translate the search across multiple databases
  • Conduct the search in multiple databases *
  • De-duplicate and merge the citations
  • Deliver citations in preferred format
  • Provide basic guidance on screening process
  • Provide researcher with documentation to include in publication *
  • Assist in writing Methods section for publication *
  • Run update of searches prior to publication (as required by standards)
  • Review the final manuscript prior to submission *
  • Librarian should have the opportunity for co-authorship, per ICMJE authorship guidelines.



A librarian who accepts responsibility for the steps marked with (*) above should be offered co-authorship of the final publication.  The librarian may accept or decline co-authorship at their discretion. Researchers may wish to consult the ICMJE statement on “Defining the Role of Authors and Contributors” for more information or clarification.

Investigators submitting requests for comprehensive literature searches for projects with grant funding are expected to include library effort in the grant.

The librarian will provide documentation of their work to the research team, but the teams is responsible for complying with data sharing or archiving policies.

Projects in which there are authors from multiple institutions will be considered if the SHSU author is the project lead.

For student academic projects, the librarian will work with the learner and/or the faculty member to determine what parts of the project must be completed by the student to meet the learning objectives for the academic project, and how to balance librarian expertise and contributions.


Consultation Request Form


Disclaimer: We reserve the right to decline requests based on availability and priorities.


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