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Systematic Reviews: Synthesising and reporting

Synthesising your results

Once you have selected the relevant studies you will need to put all your findings together using textual or statistical methods. 

Tools for data extraction 

Please note the university does not subscribe or provide support to any of the extraction tools however you may able able to use limited time free versions of those which are not freely available.

The amount and type of data collected and the number of collaborators extracting it are the two factors to take into account when choosing extraction tools for your project. Excel or Google Spreadsheets may be the best option for smaller or simpler projects, while systematic review software platforms can provide support for larger or more intricate data.

It is recommended that you pilot your data extraction tool, especially if you will code your data, to determine if fields should be added or clarified, or if the review team needs guidance in collecting and coding data.

Covidence - software platform built for managing each step of a systematic review project, including data extraction. Read about how Covidence can help you customize extraction tables and export your extracted data.  

Excel can be used to manage the screening and data extraction stages of the systematic review process by designing customised workbooks and spreadsheets.

DistillerSR - systematic review management software program which guides reviewers in creating project-specific forms, extracting, and analysing data. 

JBI Sumari (the Joanna Briggs Institute System for the United Management, Assessment and Review of Information) - systematic review software platform geared toward health, social sciences and humanities which facilitates data extraction and data synthesis. View their short introductions to data extraction and analysis.

RevMan is free software used to manage Cochrane reviews. More information and explanation of how it can be used to extract and analyse data on Introduction to RevMan - a guided tour.

SRDR (Systematic Review Data Repository) - tool for the extraction and management of data for systematic review or meta-analysis and an open searchable archive of systematic reviews and their data. More information in the "Create an Extraction Form" section.

The SR Toolbox - community-driven searchable catalogue of tools that support the systematic review process across multiple domains. Use the advanced search option to restrict to tools specific to data extraction. 

Based on

Reporting your results

PRISMA - Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses provides a structured framework to reporting systematic reviews and meta-analyses.  

When referring to the PRISMA, the developers recommend using journal article citations rather than referring to the PRISMA website or, failing that, cite one of the original publications of the PRISMA Statement or PRISMA Explanation and Elaboration.

YouTube video introducing the PRISMA 2020 updated guidelines