Project Management and Record Keeping for Systematic Reviews

Managing References

Systematic review searches may retrieve thousands of references.  Below are some reference management programs that will help store, organize and cite resources.

MCW Libraries' subscription to RefWorks allows for free access for all MCW faculty, staff, residents and students and CHW and FH employees. Access is available from the MCW network, either on campus or remotely.  Training on RefWorks is available from MCW Libraries.

EndNote (subscription required)  A commercial reference management software package from Thompson Reuters

Mendeley  A free (up to 2 GB) reference manager and academic social network from Elsevier.  Additional storage space is available for a fee.

Papers (subscription required)  A commercial reference management software package from Springer

Zotero  A free and open source reference management program from the Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media.

A comparison of these and additional reference management software packages is available from Wikipedia.

Critical Appraisal

AMSTAR (A Measurement Tool to Assess Systematic Reviews)
Includes the AMSTAR checklist, an 11 point checklist to assess systematic reviews.

Appraising the Evidence (from Critical Appraisal Skills Program - CASP)
Includes CASP Checklists - a set of eight critical appraisal tools designed to be used when reading research.  The appraisal tools cover systematic reviews, randomized controlled trials, cohort studies, case control studies, economic evaluations, diagnostic studies, qualitative studies and clinical prediction rules.

Critical Appraisal  (from Centre for Evidence Based Medicine - CEBM)
Includes critical appraisal sheets, calculators, explanations & examples, and CATmaker (a computer-assisted critical appraisal tool).

Critical Appraisal Worksheets (from Dartmouth Biomedical Libraries)

Critical Appraisal Worksheets  (from Duke University)

GRADE Guidelines (Journal of Clinical Epidemiology series)


Data Extraction

DistillerSR (proprietary web-based systematic review software from Evidence Partners)

RevMan 5 (Cochrane Collaboration - free for Cochrane Reviews or academic use)

Systematic Review Data Repository (Effective Health Care Program, AHRQ)

Choice of data extraction tools for systematic reviews depends on resources and review complexity.
Elamin MB, Flynn DN, Bassler D, et al.  J Clin Epidemiol. 2009; 62(5):506-10. PMID: 19348977