VCU Libraries

Research Guides

Systematic Reviews

Guide that helps users to understand what a systematic review entails, as well as provide resources to do one.

Contact a Librarian

Health Sciences Library


Call: 804-828-0636
Toll-free: 1-866-VCU-BOOK
Fax: (804) 828-6089

509 North 12th Street
Box 980582
Richmond, VA 23298-0582

How can the library help?

Librarian involvement during protocol development:

  • Search for existing systematic reviews or protocols of reviews in progress (PubMed, Cochrane, Prospero)
  • Conduct a scoping review search- Scoping searches are brief searches of existing literature that provide an overview of the range and depth of research that exists for a particular research idea.*
  • Assist in formation, revision of research question(s) with:
    • Reference interview to clarify the nature and breadth of research goals
    • Preliminary searches
    • Clarification of definitions of concepts (Example: What is included in “usual care”?)
  • Advise on selecting software to support review tasks and documentation 

Librarian involvement in the systematic review:

  • Identify databases to search for evidence
  • Create search strategies
  • Conduct systematic searches of the literature
  • Documentation of detailed search strategies
  • Provide a list of references obtained from literature searches in the file format of your choice (e.g. Excel, EndNote)
  • Write a narrative of the search methodology for inclusion in a manuscript

*adapted from

Tiers of Librarian Service

Authorship: Tier 2 services are associated with authorship, as activities such as developing, executing, managing results from the search, as well as drafting the methods section of a manuscript satisfy the requirements for authorship recommended by the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors.