Librarians at the AUB Libraries have been proudly assisting faculty members in conducting searches for systematic reviews since 2012, around when the Systematic Review Center for Health Policy and Systems Research (SPARK) was established by the Alliance for Health Policy and Systems Research at the World Health Organization. For several years, SML librarians have been giving workshops and courses in collaboration with SPARK, which is co-directed by Dr. Elie Akl and Dr. Fadi El-Jardali.
Systematic reviews attempt to identify, select, appraise, and synthesize all evidence to answer a specific research question based on pre-defined inclusion and exclusion criteria. Designed to minimize the risk of bias, systematic reviews are considered one of the highest evidence-based synthesis utilized by policymakers, researchers, physicians, clinicians, and health professionals to inform and support their decisions.
The AUB University Libraries have prepared and published two helpful guides for researchers conducting systematic reviews:
Since systematic reviews rely heavily on explicit, thorough, objective, reproducible, and transparent search methodology, librarians and information specialists have a central role to play in systematic review teams at different stages of the process, starting with the planning phase, to conducting the search, to writing and reporting the findings.
Faculty and researchers can request support for their Systematic Reviews by completing the online consultation form (service is subject to availability of librarian(s)).
Although assisting faculty members with systematic reviews started with the medical and health sciences departments, this service has extended to other departments over the years, as more community members initiated systematic reviews. Recently, systematic reviews in the fields of nutrition, food sciences, psychology, and education have been more common. Subject librarians have assisted several faculty members from different departments across campus and co-authored numerous publications. A list of these publications can be viewed here [a page in A Guide to Conducting Reviews].
More recently, graduate students have been asked to conduct their theses in a type of systematic reviews known as 'systematized reviews'. Systematized reviews use elements of the systematic review process with limited comprehensiveness and consideration of methodology as part of the students' graduate assignments.
For more information, contact your subject librarian, or the University Libraries (email@example.com, Ext. 2620).