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Systematic Review Resources: Reporting guidelines for SRs and other study types

This guide is designed to help you get started on a systematic review and provide guidance on a wide variety of resources.

Reporting your systematic review

There are several reporting checklists for systematic reviews, all of which are available from the Equator Network.

Reporting guidelines for other study types

These links are included primarily because the reporting guidelines from other study types can help you to design your coding worksheet, especially if a checklist is available.   What is a coding worksheet?

Each study you include should have at least 1 article describing it.  You will need to pull key elements out of the articles in order to evaluate them, put them in an evidence table, and run a meta-analysis.  The coding worksheet is simply a standardized form that you and your research partners complete to gather those key elements from each article.  Ideally you should also have a workbook with definitions as well.

How can the reporting guidelines help with creating a coding worksheet?

Take STROBE-- The Strengthening the Reporting of Observational Studies in Epidemiology.  It indicates what elements should be included and in what order.

Under Methods, the first 3 elements that should be report are: 

Study design


Present key elements of study design early in the paper



Describe the setting, locations, and relevant dates, including periods of recruitment, exposure, follow-up, and data collection



(a) Cohort study—Give the eligibility criteria, and the sources and methods of selection of participants. Describe methods of follow-up

Case-control study—Give the eligibility criteria, and the sources and methods of case ascertainment and control selection. Give the rationale for the choice of cases and controls

Cross-sectional study—Give the eligibility criteria, and the sources and methods of selection of participants

(b) Cohort study—For matched studies, give matching criteria and number of exposed and unexposed

Case-control study—For matched studies, give matching criteria and the number of controls per case

How might this translate when you are developing your coding worksheet?  

Study design


Prospective                 Retrospective                           

Case control                 

Cross sectional                  




 Rural    ____

Semi-urban    ____

Urban    ____

N/R    ____

Community     ____

Field    ____

School     ____

Convenience sample     ____

Random sample     ____

N/R ______


Number of children available    ____

Number of children with sputum analyzed   ____

# of children    Cases _____    Controls ____   N/R _______

Race    ____

Ethnicity    ____




What does N/R mean?  Not reported-- that information would be found in the coding workbook.  Ideally, on the far right would be a thin column to record the page number where each bit of information was found.

All of the links below go to the Equator Network.


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