Three New Year’s Resolutions for Systematic Reviewers

by | Dec 29, 2016

Three New Year’s Resolutions for Systematic Reviewers

At this time of the year many of us reflect on the past twelve months and make plans for how we can may next year even better. Here’s a light hearted but evidence-based list of resolutions you may want to consider in order to make 2017 your best systematic review year ever!

Be Nicer to Our Reviewers

As we all know, screening and data extraction are hard work. Let’s resolve to make life easier for our reviewers by doing some of the following:

  1. Use keyword highlighting effectively for title and abstract screening to help our people find the relevant bits of text faster.
  2. Keep our data extraction focused, avoiding the temptation to gather data we don’t really need for this particular review.
  3. Keep our screening forms short and sweet.
  4. Enhance togetherness with Kappa scoring and conflict flagging on screening.

Make a List, Check it Twice

Excluding irrelevant articles takes time, but getting it right is important. Let’s try to use dual screeners wherever possible. Let’s also keep a list of excluded references, and why we excluded them, so that we never have to screen them again for an update or for a review on a similar topic.

Give Back

When we’re done our screening and data extraction, let’s not file all of those precious coded references away. Let’s share them with others so that they can leverage all of the work we did to extract that data. This will, in turn, accelerate their research and help us all to generate more and better evidence, faster. If we all did just a little more of this, wouldn’t it be a better world for evidence-based research?

I’m sure you have your own list, but these are just three simple ideas for what we can improve upon next year.

Happy Holidays! Let’s make 2017 an awesome year for evidence!

  • Peter O'Blenis

    Peter O’Blenis is the CEO DistillerSR and has assembled a collection of best practices and methodologies for using web-based software to streamline clinical research. He believes that well written software can solve real-world problems and has presented globally on the topic.

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