Choice of data extraction tools for systematic reviews depends on resources and review complexity

Mohamed B. Elamin, David N. Flynn, Dirk Bassler, Matthias Briel, Pablo Alonso-Coello, Paul Jack Karanicolas, Gordon H. Guyatt, German Malaga, Toshiaki A. Furukawa, Regina Kunz, Holger Schünemann, Mohammad Hassan Murad, Corrado Barbui, Andrea Cipriani, Victor M. Montori

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

37 Scopus citations


Objective: To assist investigators planning, coordinating, and conducting systematic reviews in the selection of data-extraction tools for conducting systematic reviews. Study Design and Setting: We constructed an initial table listing available data-collection tools and reflecting our experience with these tools and their performance. An international group of experts iteratively reviewed the table and reflected on the performance of the tools until no new insights and consensus resulted. Results: Several tools are available to manage data in systematic reviews, including paper and pencil, spreadsheets, web-based surveys, electronic databases, and web-based specialized software. Each tool offers benefits and drawbacks: specialized web-based software is well suited in most ways, but is associated with higher setup costs. Other approaches vary in their setup costs and difficulty, training requirements, portability and accessibility, versatility, progress tracking, and the ability to manage, present, store, and retrieve data. Conclusion: Available funding, number and location of reviewers, data needs, and the complexity of the project should govern the selection of a data-extraction tool when conducting systematic reviews.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)506-510
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Clinical Epidemiology
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2009

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology


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