Literature screening and the ARM@DA reference list

posted in: Blog, Evidence | 0

By Georgia Clancy, ARM@DA Research Fellow.

In our previous blog, Mark explained how he conducted the literature search for our realist review. This search produced nearly 6,500 texts! The team needed to sort through these papers so that we would be left with only those highly applicable to ARM@DA. In this month’s blog, we’ll discuss the screening process and share our reference list of included papers to date.

There are a number of different ways that you can carry out the screening process for a review project. You can use Excel or Word, a citation managing software, or a specialist screening and data extraction tool. For the ARM@DA project we chose to use Covidence, a web-based collaboration platform for literature reviews.

We found Covidence to be a useful and efficient tool. It broke down the screening process into different stages, automatically moved papers around depending on if they were voted in or out of the review, and allowed multiple team members to support the screening process. During ‘title and abstract screening’ we voted ‘yes’, ‘no’ or ‘maybe’ to papers. During ‘full text screening’ we set up our exclusion criteria in Covidence so that we could select and record the reason for exclusion. Our screening process was led by Catrin and Georgia, who screened independently to reduce bias. At each stage of the screening process Covidence would keep track of any papers where Catrin or Georgia had made different decisions. These would be placed into the ‘conflict’ section for them to discuss periodically. We also had a third team member on standby to give the casting vote, if necessary.

Once full text screening was complete we were left with a long list of 142 papers (read here: Included studies as of 09-09-22). These will be taken through to a more detailed appraisal process to further identify the most relevant studies for ARM@DA.