Searching for studies is different than screening for studies. When screening potential articles to be included in a knowledge synthesis, keep these pointers in mind:
*Our librarians do not provide consultations on screening, however we're happy to provide you with the information and resources below.
In the first stage of screening, a pair of reviewers from the review team will independently scan titles and abstracts of articles that were retrieved from a comprehensive (i.e. multiple source) search, and make decisions whether to include or exclude articles. To do this in a streamlined, unbiased, and method-driven way, reviewers should adhere to the pre-defined eligibility criteria, or guidance form.
Keep these tips in mind during the first stage of screening:
The second level of screening is a more rigourous, in-depth process in which the articles that were included in the first stage of screening are read in full-text. Similar to the first-level of screening, this is done independently by two reviewers from the review team, and the eligibility criteria that was used as a guideline for the first-level of screening is largely the same. However the second level of screening differs in these important ways:
Screening does not come without challenges. The process can often be confusing, and coming to a consensus on whether an article "fits" the eligibility criteria can be hard. These are some common challenges faced during screening:
Guidance and training are two keys methods in mitigating challenges that arise during the screening process.
Establishing a guidance form lessens reviewer confusion & anxiety during screening by providing a document that all team members can refer to.
For a more comprehensive explanation on the process of screening, watch the webinar "Screening for studies in systematic reviews, scoping reviews, and other knowledge syntheses: Strategies for improvement" created and presented by Patricia Ayala, Research Services Librarian at Gerstein Science Information Centre. To view the slides, examples, and screening templates, click here.
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