Few studies exist examining methods for selecting studies, abstracting data, and appraising quality in a systematic review

Reid C. Robson, Ba' Pham, Jeremiah Hwee, Sonia Thomas, Patricia Rios, Matthew J. Page, Andrea C. Tricco

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

23 Citations (Scopus)


The aim of the article was to identify and summarize studies assessing methodologies for study selection, data abstraction, or quality appraisal in systematic reviews.

Study Design and Setting
A systematic review was conducted, searching MEDLINE, EMBASE, and the Cochrane Library from inception to September 1, 2016. Quality appraisal of included studies was undertaken using a modified Quality Assessment of Diagnostic Accuracy Studies 2, and key results on accuracy, reliability, efficiency of a methodology, or impact on results and conclusions were extracted.

After screening 5,600 titles and abstracts and 245 full-text articles, 37 studies were included. For screening, studies supported the involvement of two independent experienced reviewers and the use of Google Translate when screening non-English articles. For data abstraction, studies supported involvement of experienced reviewers (especially for continuous outcomes) and two independent reviewers, use of dual monitors, graphical data extraction software, and contacting authors. For quality appraisal, studies supported intensive training, piloting quality assessment tools, providing decision rules for poorly reported studies, contacting authors, and using structured tools if different study designs are included.

Few studies exist documenting common systematic review practices. Included studies support several systematic review practices. These results provide an updated evidence-base for current knowledge synthesis guidelines and methods requiring further research.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)121-135
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Clinical Epidemiology
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2019


  • knowledge synthesis
  • systematic reviews
  • methodology
  • study selection
  • data abstraction
  • quality appraisal

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