Skip to Main Content

Systematic, Scoping, and Rapid Reviews

Screening Results and Selecting Studies

Once you have completed your searches and have a set of deduplicated citations, the next step in an evidence synthesis is to screen and select studies. There are two levels of screening:

  1. Title and abstract screening - review the title and abstract (if available) of each citation to determine whether the study likely meets your inclusion criteria. Studies that do not meet the criteria are excluded. Studies that definitely or maybe meet the criteria are moved forward to the next stage of screening.
  2. Full text screening - in this stage, you review the full text of the studies to determine whether the study meets your inclusion criteria. Studies that meet all of your criteria will be included in the review. Studies that don't meet the criteria are excluded; when studies are excluded during full-text screening, you need to record the reason why the study was excluded.

In most cases, both levels of screening are completed by two people working independently. Conflicts between screeners are typically resolved through discussion or by a third screener.

Your screening process and your plan for resolving conflicts should be determined in advance and described in your protocol.

Before You Start Screening

It's a good idea to pilot test your screening process on a sample set of articles to ensure screeners are interpreting eligibility criteria consistently.

Tools for Screening

There are many software tools available to assist with the screening process. Memorial University Libraries currently provides access to: