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Brown School Library Systematic Review Resources and Services

In this guide, Brown School Library describes our available services and resources for supporting your systematic review work.

What 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.  It uses explicit, systematic methods that are selected with a view to minimizing bias, thus providing more reliable findings from which conclusions can be drawn and decisions made.”*

*Higgins JPT, Green S (editors). Cochrane Handbook for Systematic Reviews of Interventions Version 5.1.0 [updated March 2011]. The Cochrane Collaboration, 2011. Available from, Section 1.2.2

The Brown School Library will support your systematic review project by...

  •     Consulting with you regarding how to design a thorough reproducible search suitable for reporting for publication
  •     Provide advice regarding the best databases and other resources to include in your search
  •     Provide educational resources to help inform your process

Brown School Librarians are not typically available to be co-authors on systematic reviews. Co-authorship level participation includes designing a fully reproducible and reportable search strategy and writing the methods on how the search was designed and conducted. When librarians work as co-authors on systematic reviews, they also typically translate the search strategy across the various databases and interfaces searched, run the searches, transfer citations to a citation management system, de-duplicate the citations, and provide the citations in a format that allows the rest of the team to easily screen results for inclusion and exclusion criteria. Anyone on your team that provides the level of work just described should be included as an author.

If you are Washington University School of Medicine faculty, student, or staff, you can take advantage of the Becker SR Service. Librarians providing the Becker SR Service are more likely to be available for author level contribution.

Becker librarians cannot complete SR searching for Brown School student, faculty or staff unless at least one member of the Brown School team is a Washington University School of Medicine member who will submit the SR intake form and agree to act as the primary contact person for the project. 

Thank You to Becker Medical Librarians
This guide was largely modeled after the guide created by the librarians at Becker Medical Library. We are grateful to them for their generosity and leadership.