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Systematic Review for NURS 7323

This guide covers the basics of conducting a review as assigned in NURS 7323.


The Cochrane Handbook for Systematic Reviews of Interventions covers every step in the SR process. It is freely available online. In addition, Cochran offers a free (for academic use) tool called RevMan that will create funnel and scatter plots based on your data.

The Joanna Briggs Institute offers a Reviewers' Manual, and it's own software, SUMARI, that will help you through the process for a $130 annual subscription.

Evaluating SRs

You will search for systematic reviews related to yours. If you find any, you will need to evaluate them and include that discussion in the "Background" section of your review. Use one of the following resources to evaluate quality of related SRs:

Searching Grey Lit

Gray Literature is probably one of the trickiest parts of the SR, and you may not need it for your assignment. However, if you do, see this fabulous guide from UPenn on finding, evaluating, and using GL.


These tools will allow you to:

  • Deduplicate your search results
  • Organize and store citations
  • Share citations with colleagues
  • Store pdfs and other notes
  • Format citations and references in your paper

RefWorks - Free to you. Supported by the HSC. Web-based.
EndNote - Costs about $80 for a personal license through TechZone. Creates a local library on up to 3 computers. Libraries sync through web application.
EndNote Web - Free, web-based application.

Study Review

Rayyan is:

  • Free
  • Web-based

It facilitates:

  • Blinded review


Google Forms

  • Free
  • Create dynamic, web-based, tools for extracting data
  • Easily share with colleagues
  • Need to have a Google account


  • Free training for UT Health San Antonio affiliates
  • Get help with your data management strategy, free consultation
  • Data extraction (hourly fee)
  • Works with SPSS, R, SAS

Recording Flow of Data

You will need to chart the flow of data through your review in order to maintain transparency and allow the reader to determine whether your process was valid. PRISMA is an evidence-based minimum set of items for reporting in systematic reviews and meta-analyses. PRISMA focuses on the reporting of reviews evaluating randomized trials, but can also be used as a basis for reporting systematic reviews of other types of research, particularly evaluations of interventions (from their site).

PRISMA Flow Diagram

  • Maps out number of records identified, included and excluded, reason for exclusion (at the full-text level)

PRISMA Checklist

  • Explains the best practices for writing your systematic review
  • Is the standard for reporting