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Excel Workbooks and User Guides for Systematic Reviews

Updated: Feb 15

​​January 24, 2021

These workbooks used to live on a DropBox Showcase site, but were moved as the site was shut down.


These free workbooks have been designed to capture data gathered throughout the literature search, screening, and full text review. The user guides provide step-by-step instructions along with screen snapshots so you’ll know you are doing it right. You can use (and share!) this shortened URL to access all of the resources on this site:


The workbooks have been updated, but the user guides have not. The process is essentially the same; the language for study selection changed. For example, the user guides for the Cohen’s kappa workbook and the screening workbook show “no”, “maybe”; the new workbooks use “exclude” and “go to full text review”. However-- feel free to contact me for copies of the new workbooks or with any questions.


Which workbook(s) should you use?


If you are working on a systematic review by yourself, then the ONLY workbook you will need is One-person-review_Project-name-Excel-workbook.


If you are working on a systematic review and need a means of tracking your literature searches ONLY (i.e. you are using Distiller SR, Covidence, or something similar for study selection), then the workbook you should use is 1a-Project-Name-PRIMARY-workbook-lit-searches.


Otherwise, for 2-person reviews, use the:

  1. Project-name_PRIMARY-Excel-workbook-for-two-people;

  2. Cohens-kappa-for-two-people_Project-name_Compiled;

  3. Screening-workbook-for-two-people_Project-name_Compiled;

  4. Reviewing-workbook-for-two-people_Project-name_Compiled.

You will also need special styles for RefWorks or EndNote, depending on which citation management system you use. You can create your own if you know how by customizing the export fields so only the citation ID, item title, and abstract export in a tab-deliminated text file.


NOTE: EndNote will sometimes add paragraph marks into records between fields in the abstract. Be sure to follow the instructions in the user guide before exporting to a text file.

  1. EndNote style for Excel SR workbooks: http://bit.ly/Endnote-for-Excel-SR-workbooks

  2. User instructions for EndNote: http://bit.ly/Excel-wkbk-user-guides

  3. RefWorks for Excel SR workbooks: http://bit.ly/RefWorks-for-Excel-SR-workbooks

  4. User instructions for RefWorks: http://bit.ly/Excel-wkbk-user-guides

Additional files for publication

  1. PRISMA flowchart in MS Word: http://bit.ly/PRISMA-flowchart-template

  2. Search strategies template in MS Word: http://bit.ly/search-strategies-results-template

Track Literature Search Results only

Excel workbook to track literature searches ONLY: http://bit.ly/All-Excel-SR-wkbks

Track literature search user guide (PDF): http://bit.ly/Excel-wkbk-user-guides

One-person reviews

Excel workbook for a one-person review: http://bit.ly/All-Excel-SR-wkbks

Workbooks for 2-person reviews

PRIMARY Excel Workbook for a 2-person review: http://bit.ly/All-Excel-SR-wkbks

User guide: http://bit.ly/Excel-wkbk-user-guides

Use this workbook to track:

  1. Search strategies, number found, and number of duplicates;

  2. Cohen's kappa interrater reliability test results

  3. Reconciled study selection decisions at both the screening stage and the full text review stage.

Cohen's kappa interrater reliability workbook (Excel): http://bit.ly/All-Excel-SR-wkbks

Cohen's kappa interrater reliability user guide (PDF): http://bit.ly/Excel-wkbk-user-guides

Screening workbook for a 2-person review (Excel): http://bit.ly/All-Excel-SR-wkbks

This workbook is necessary for the initial stage of study selection, screening titles and abstracts.

Screening workbook userguide (PDF): http://bit.ly/Excel-wkbk-user-guides

Full text review workbook for a 2--person review (Excel): http://bit.ly/All-Excel-SR-wkbks

Full text review user guide (PDF): http://bit.ly/Excel-wkbk-user-guides


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