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Preparing for a Comprehensive Literature Review

Library Support for Comprehensive Reviews

Assistance with Search Strategies

Librarians with expert searching skills are available to assist U of Alberta researchers, review teams and graduate students in developing an effective search strategies for comprehensive reviews such as systematic reviews, scoping reviews, integrative reviews and meta-syntheses.  Our assistance entails providing advice on:

  • Identifying relevant databases
  • Identifying and combining relevant search terms
  • Exporting search results into a citation/review manager
  • Identifying sources of grey literature
  • Identifying other means of finding relevant studies

For more information about the systematic review search process, see our guide Systematic Reviews - Searching the Literature.

Making an Appointment to Consult with a Librarian

If you wish to make an appointment with a librarian, use the appointment request form available at:  

To maximize meeting time, if you have not done so already, we suggest you do the following prior to the consultation:

NOTE:  Our Consult service is extended only to current students, faculty and staff of the University of Alberta.

Instructional Sessions

The library offers sessions on advanced and systematic review searching throughout the year.  Consult our Training & Workshops Calendar for upcoming sessions.  

If you would like to arrange an instructional session for your class/group, please contact your Subject Librarian to make arrangements.

Assistance with Finding Full-text

If you are having difficulties locating the full-text of items you require, use one of our Ask Us services to contact us for assistance. 

If our staff ascertain that full-text is not available within our collection, they will refer you to our Interlibrary Loan/Document Delivery (ILL) service which you can use to request items not available locally.  

Mediated Searching

Review teams should consider inviting a librarian with expert search skills to become part of the review team.  As a member of the team, the librarian will:

  • Plan and execute database searches
  • Export results into a citation manager and/or review manager
  • Update searches as appropriate
  • Advise on sources of grey literature not otherwise captured by database saerches
  • Write the search methodology for the review manuscript

If you are interested in this option, make an appointment with a librarian in your subject area to discuss next steps.