In research and academia, systematic reviews play a crucial role in synthesising current knowledge and guiding evidence-based decisions. These thorough literature assessments are crucial for comprehending the state of research on a particular subject at the moment. However, they can be difficult to execute because systematic reviews frequently require substantial data collection, analysis, and synthesis. Here’s where Covidence steps in, providing a process-simplifying systematic review management software.
What is Covidence?
A web-based software platform called Covidence was created especially for researchers and medical professionals who do systematic reviews and other types of evidence synthesis. By offering a consolidated platform for collaboration and organisation, it seeks to streamline the systematic review process and increase the efficiency and manageability of research.
What is Covidence for Systematic Reviews
The main market for Covidence is systematic reviews. However, what is a systematic review exactly? A systematic review is a methodical examination of prior research findings and supporting data pertaining to a particular research subject. In order to support researchers in making defensible conclusions and identifying knowledge gaps, it seeks to offer an exhaustive and objective summary of the body of existing literature.
For scholars just starting out with systematic reviews, Covidence is a useful resource. It streamlines the procedure’s frequently complex processes, like research selection, data extraction, and risk of bias evaluation. In addition, it fosters greater teamwork and transparency throughout the review process.
Covidence Systematic Review Software
To make the process of conducting a systematic review easier, Covidence provides a number of features and tools. Let’s talk about a few of the main features that make this software an invaluable tool for researchers.
a. Study Choice
The selection of studies that satisfy the inclusion criteria is one of the first and most important tasks in a systematic review. Covidence helps with this process by giving researchers the freedom to independently evaluate and screen studies, which promotes uniformity and openness in the choice of studies.
b. Extraction of Data
The method by which researchers gather and document pertinent data from particular investigations is known as data extraction. Covidence streamlines and reduces errors in this stage by offering templates for data extraction forms and enabling collaborative data entry.
c. Risk of Bias Assessment
A systematic review needs to assess the included studies’ quality and bias risk. With the use of Covidence’s risk of bias assessment tools, researchers may make well-informed decisions regarding the validity of the evidence.
The foundation of systematic reviews is collaboration, which frequently entails the cooperation of several scholars. With Covidence’s collaborative platform, team members can focus on different elements of the review at the same time, increasing productivity and transparency.
e. Connectivity to Reference Coordinators
The seamless integration of Covidence with reference management software, such as EndNote, Zotero, and Mendeley, facilitates the importation of references and the maintenance of your source library.
How to Use Covidence for Systematic Review
Now that we are clear on Covidence’s definition and main purposes let us look at how to use it for a systematic review.
Step 1: Register for an Account
In order to use Covidence, you must first create an account. You have the option to select between individual and team accounts based on your research requirements.
Step 2: Establish a Project
You can start a new project for your systematic review as soon as your account is set up. This is the section where you will provide the specifics of your review, such as the goals, research question, and qualifying standards.
Step 3: Import References
Covidence allows you to import references from various reference management software or manually upload them. This is where you will build your library of studies to be included in the review.
Step 4: Screening And Selection
Covidence offers a screening interface where you can review and assess each study based on your inclusion and exclusion criteria. You can work individually or collaborate with team members in this phase.
Step 5: Data Extraction
After selecting studies, you’ll use Covidence’s data extraction forms to extract and record relevant data from each study systematically. This step ensures consistency and accuracy in your data collection.
Step 6: Risk of Bias Assessment
Evaluate each included study’s quality and risk of bias using Covidence’s built-in tools. This step is critical for assessing the reliability of the evidence.
Step 7: Data Synthesis
Once you have extracted data and assessed bias, you can synthesise the results using statistical or narrative methods, depending on the nature of your review.
Step 8: Export Results
Covidence allows you to export your results, making it easy to create reports, tables, and figures for your systematic review publication.
Systematic Review Management Tips with Covidence
Conducting a systematic review can be a complex and time-consuming endeavour. Here are some management tips to make your research journey smoother when using Covidence:
a. Start With a Clear Research Question
The foundation of any systematic review is a well-defined research question. Take the time to clearly articulate your research objectives and eligibility criteria to guide your review.
b. Plan and Organise
Before discussing the review, create a detailed plan outlining your review process, timelines, and responsibilities. Covidence’s project management features can assist in this regard.
c. Collaborate Effectively
Collaboration is key in systematic reviews. Use Covidence’s collaboration tools to work seamlessly with team members, ensuring everyone is on the same page.
d. Consistency in Screening and Data Extraction
Maintain consistency throughout the screening and data extraction process. This is vital for ensuring the quality and reliability of your review.
e. Regularly Update your Search
Keep your literature search up to date throughout your review. Covidence allows you to add new studies as they become available easily.
f. Stay Informed about Changes
Stay informed about updates or changes in Covidence’s features and functionalities to make the most of the software’s capabilities.
Beyond Systematic Reviews: Scoping and Integrative Reviews
While Covidence is primarily known for supporting systematic reviews, it’s also valuable for other types of reviews, such as scoping and integrative reviews.
a. Scoping Review
A scoping review is a type of review that aims to map the existing literature on a topic and identify research gaps. Covidence can help streamline the study selection process and data extraction for scoping reviews.
b. Integrative Review
Integrative reviews synthesise various types of evidence, including quantitative, qualitative, and mixed-methods research. Covidence’s data extraction and organisation features can aid in conducting integrative reviews effectively.
Limitations of Covidence for Systematic Reviews
In discussing the advantages of using Covidence for systematic reviews, it’s crucial also to recognise the limitations.
Covidence is not a free tool; it operates on a subscription-based model. While it offers a free trial, the cost of using Covidence may be prohibitive for individual researchers, small teams, or those working in resource-constrained environments. The subscription cost can potentially limit access to this valuable resource.
For newcomers to Covidence, there can be a learning curve. It takes time to become proficient in using all of Covidence’s features effectively. Researchers and teams need to invest time in training and gaining familiarity with the software, which can impact the initial efficiency of the review process.
Covidence is a web-based platform that relies on a stable internet connection. This dependency on the internet can be a limitation when working in areas with unreliable or limited internet access. Researchers may need help to consistently access the platform.
Data Privacy and Security
Research data that is confidential and sensitive is frequently included in systematic reviews. It becomes crucial to protect the privacy and security of this data when researchers submit it to the Covidence platform. Considerations for compliance and data protection should be known to researchers.
Only Systematic Reviews are Allowed
Although Covidence is a great tool for organising systematic reviews, systematic reviews are the primary focus of its usefulness. Because of this, it could not be as flexible for researchers working on other kinds of reviews, such as scoping or integrative reviews, which can call for alternative instruments or approaches.
To sum up, Covidence is an effective tool that streamlines the systematic review procedure, giving researchers more control and efficiency. Through adherence to our management guidelines and efficient utilisation of Covidence’s functionalities, you can perform superior systematic reviews, scoping reviews, and integrative reviews that propel progress in your area. But always keep in mind that there are few limitations and that conducting evaluations with transparency and rigour is crucial.
Frequently Asked Questions
Covidence is a web-based platform designed for systematic reviews, streamlining tasks like study selection, data extraction, and risk of bias assessment. It promotes efficiency and collaboration, making systematic reviews more manageable.
Start by registering for a Covidence account. Once registered, create a project for your systematic review and import references to begin your review.
You can import references from reference management software like EndNote, Zotero, or Mendeley. Alternatively, manually upload references to build your study library.
Yes, Covidence facilitates collaboration, allowing team members to work together on study selection, data extraction, and more, enhancing efficiency and transparency in the review process.