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7.2.3  A typical process for selecting studies

A typical process for selecting studies for inclusion in a review is as follows (the process should be detailed in the protocol for the review).

  1. Merge search results using reference management software, and remove duplicate records of the same report (see Chapter 6, Section 6.5).

  2. Examine titles and abstracts to remove obviously irrelevant reports (authors should generally be over-inclusive at this stage).

  3. Retrieve full text of the potentially relevant reports.

  4. Link together multiple reports of the same study (see Section 7.2.2).

  5. Examine full-text reports for compliance of studies with eligibility criteria.

  6. Correspond with investigators, where appropriate, to clarify study eligibility (it may be appropriate to request further information, such as missing results, at the same time).

  7. Make final decisions on study inclusion and proceed to data collection.