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Best Practice Guidelines for Abstract Screening Large-Evidence Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses

NCJ Number
Research Synthesis Methods Volume: 10 Issue: 3 Dated: 2019 Pages: 330-342
Date Published
13 pages

This paper presents best-practice guidelines for abstract screening of large-evidence systematic literature reviews and meta-analyses.


Abstract screening enables the review team to conduct the first step in synthesizing the extant literature that should be "full-text" screened for inclusion in the research review. In addition to the guidelines for abstract screening, this paper also describes recent experiences of a team of abstract screeners that double-screened 14,923 abstracts in 89 days for research on predicting mental health, criminality, and school performance from school violence exposure. The experience gained from this abstract screening helped shape the best-practice guidelines presented in the current paper. This paper discusses 10 best practice guidelines, their applications, and the potential impact of small decisions on large-evidence reviews. The guidelines are organized by the stage of the abstract screening process, which includes the stages before beginning the screening, during the screening, and at the end of the screening process. The paper advises, however, that this is not a step-by-step guide to conducting abstract screening. Rather, the guidelines provided should be used as a path to conducting better, more efficient abstract screening. 3 tables and 31 references

Date Published: January 1, 2019