USF Shimberg Health Sciences Library

Systematic Reviews

Librarian Involvement

The librarian, as full partner and co-author, is committed to collaborating and supporting the following Systematic Review tasks:

  • Determining if a systematic review has already been done on a topic.
  • Translating the research question into an appropriate search strategy.
  • Translating the search concepts into controlled vocabulary and keywords so that both precision and recall are maximized.
  • Choosing specific databases and other information sources to be searched.
  • Conducting the literature searches across all the information sources chosen.
  • Maintaining records of search results and following up with alerts and updates as needed
  • Providing guidance and support regarding bibliographic management tools, such as EndNote or RefWorks, to manage citations and easily produce bibliographies.
  • Writing the literature search methodology section for the submitted manuscript.

According to the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine's Standards for Systematic Reviews, the systematic review team should work with a librarian during the following steps:


Work with a librarian or other information specialist trained in performing systematic reviews to plan the search strategy


Design the search strategy to address each key research question


Use an independent librarian or other information specialist to peer review the search strategy


 Additional studies have shown that the librarian's involvement in the systematic review process produces better results:


  • 2014 Nov-Dec;21(6):1118-24. PMID: 248723418.titled "Effects of librarian-provided services in healthcare settings: a systematic review" concluded that librarian-provided services directed to participants in training programs improved skills in literature searching and facilitated the integration of research evidence into clinical decision-making; that these services save time for health care professionals and supported informed decisions.  In addition, two studies illustrated patient length of stay was reduced when clinicians requested literature searches related to a patient's case.