Several organisations that fund or conduct systematic reviews (SR) recommend, if not require, having a librarian on the research team (IOM, Cochrane, CIHR, Campbell Collaboration). Due to the amount of time required to provide these services, and the need to respect course requirements, we offer different levels of service for academic staff and students. The following guidelines also apply for other types of knowledge syntheses such as scoping reviews, integrative reviews or realist reviews.
Timeline to complete a systematic review
According to the Cochrane Collaboration, the time required to complete a systematic review varies widely. Research teams should allow for an average of 12 months from initial consultation to production of final manuscript.
Using this service
Outline of librarian involvement in the process
There are many steps to the process of conducting a systematic review; more information about the process can be found on our guide.
For doctoral students, master’s students, and undergraduate students, where the review project is part of your dissertation, thesis or coursework, librarians are available for consultation on the following aspects of systematic reviews; additional help may be available on a case-by-case basis:
1. Discussion on the formulation of a suitable research question
2. Guidance on checking for published or in-process SR on the same topic
3. Guidance on designing and running the search strategies
4. Providing resources to answer other questions about the SR process
Students are limited to 5 hours of consultation time (in person or via email) per project. No-shows or last minute cancellations count toward the 5 hours.
Before the first meeting with the librarian, the student will be required fill out this work plan form and to provide, by email, a draft review protocol with the following information:
- Background justification for the review
- Draft research question
- Draft inclusion and exclusion criteria
You are encouraged to take an EndNote workshop to learn how to manage the large amount of citations you will find in your review.