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Knowledge Synthesis

This guide includes content about systematic reviews, including general information and information about librarian assistance

Frequently Asked Questions

1. How long can a systematic review take?

Answer: "The mean estimated time to complete the project and publish the review was 67.3 weeks [approximately 1 year and 3 months]."

2. How many authors usually are involved with a systematic review?

Answer: We recommend that at least 2 authors are involved in the systematic review process, with a third needed for tie-breaking during the screening process. According to Borah et al. (2017) "The mean number of authors per review was 5".

3. Do I have to register my systematic review in PROSPERO or Open Science Framework (OSF)?

Answer: While it is not required, according to PRISMA's website, "Systematic reviews should be registered at inception (i.e. at the protocol stage) to help avoid unplanned duplication and to enable comparison of reported review methods with what was planned in the protocol."

4. What are some citation managers that help with systematic reviews?

Answer: Zotero, Mendeley, and Refworks.

5. What is backward and forward citation searching?

Answer: Backward citation searching is undertaken by reviewing bibliographies of relevant or included studies and forward citation chasing is undertaken by checking if a study, already known to be relevant, has since been cited by another study (Cooper et al., 2017)

6. I came across a term related to systematic reviews that I don't understand. Is there a systematic review glossary?

Answer: While there is not a standard systematic review glossary, Nagendrababu et al (2020) wrote a "Glossary for systematic reviews and meta-analyses." that provides some terms and their definitions. 



Borah, R., Brown, A.W., Capers, P.L., and Kaiser, K.A (2017) Analysis of the time and workers needed to conduct systematic reviews of medical interventions using data from the PROSPERO registry. BMJ Open, 7(2), e012545. 

Cooper, C., Booth, A., Britten, N., & Garside, R. (2017). A comparison of results of empirical studies of supplementary search techniques and recommendations in review methodology handbooks: A methodological review. Systematic Reviews, 6(1), 234.

Nagendrababu, V., Dilokthornsakul, P., Jinatongthai, P., Veettil, S. K., Pulikkotil, S. J., Duncan, H. F., & Dummer, P. M. H. (2020). Glossary for systematic reviews and meta-analyses. International Endodontic Journal, 53(2), 232–249.

Registration. (n.d.). PRISMA. Retrieved June 2, 2023, from