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Systematic Review: 1. Screen

Screening Process


When reviewing the final search results from your chosen databases (and other sources if relevant), multiple reviewers (you and your supervisors or co-reviewers) will make decisions on which articles to include and exclude based on the criteria specified in your protocol. The first stage of this is usually based on titles and abstracts, then a full text analysis follows before data extraction.

  • Pre-screening:   Record the numbers of results from each database or source recorded before screening commences
  • Title/abstract screening:  Each reviewer will need to scan titles and abstracts to see if they match the criteria or have some value to the
    systematic review.  This is done separately by each reviewer to ensure minimal bias.  Results are then compared.
  • Full-text screening:  Multiple reviewers individually look through the full-text of included articles to fine-tune the final collection of articles that will contribute to the review.

Various types of software can be used to store citations and do the screening:



      Creating groups in Endnote 



Prisma flow diagram

A PRISMA (Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta Analyses) diagram is used to show the steps involved in the review process, as well as recording the number of articles excluded at each stage.

Here is an example of a PRISMA diagram:



     Accessibility document - PRISMA diagram   

You can create your own PRISMA chart using this online PRISMA generator link .

     PRISMA generator link 

     PRISMA flow chart template