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Systematic Reviews

For Quality

For Content

The next step is for the researchers to read the full text of each article identified for inclusion in the review and extract the pertinent data using a standardized data extraction/coding form.  The data extraction form should be as long or as short as necessary and can be coded for computer analysis if desired.

If you are writing a narrative review to summarize information reported in a small number of studies then you probably don't need to go to the trouble of coding the data variables for computer analysis but instead summarize the information from the data extraction sheets for the included studies. If you are conducting an analytical review with a meta-analysis to compare data outcomes from several clinical trials you may wish to computerize the data collection and analysis processes.

Evaluation Documentation

Document all the details of your appraisal and data extraction, including the following:

  • Articles' quality evaluations and questions used
  • Reasons why they were excluded
  • Variables of each study (e.g., number of participants, control and intervention groups' characteristics, and length and frequency of interventions)