The Literature Searching guide shows you how to complete an effective literature search from beginning to end. Use the tabs at the top of the page to navigate through the guide.
Remember: the Library team provides a range of research support services to Monash Health employees and students. Attend a live webinar, book a research consultation, or request a literature search and get in touch with the Library team if you have any questions.
What is screening?
The process of reviewing your search results and removing (or setting aside) the studies that do not meet your inclusion criteria.
Why screen your results?
Even a well-designed, efficient search strategy will return some results that are less relevant to your research question. The more sensitive your search strategy, the more results you will get.
When to screen your results
When you perform a systematic and sensitive literature search, you will need to screen the results in order to find the most relevant literature. Allow additional time for screening results if you are undertaking any of the following:
If you are conducting a quicker, more precise search, you may be able to screen in a more informal and unstructured way -- for example, by scanning through a list of results to find the most relevant title(s). Circumstances in which this approach would be appropriate include:
How to screen
Note: When performing a systematic review or meta-analysis you are required to document the process and results of screening and selecting studies. For more details see the Cochrane Handbook and the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) statement.
Tools for efficient screening
One of the best tools for screening results is Covidence, an online collaboration tool that is designed for conducting systematic reviews. Covidence works well for other kinds of screening too -- the 55-second video below demonstrates how to screen titles and abstracts in Covidence.
Monash Health employees and students can access Covidence via our institutional subscription. For more information see our online Covidence guide.
When language other than English (LOE) papers are included in search results, translation may be required.
Tools to help with translations: (be aware that online translation tools may be inaccurate)
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