Using bibliographic software to appraise and code data in educational systematic review research.
BACKGROUND: Bibliographic database software is often recommended as a tool that can assist researchers in managing the large numbers of references produced in early stages of a systematic review. The uses of such software in systematic review research are often represented solely in terms of bibliographic functions, while the uses that extend beyond simple bibliographic functions have not been explored. AIMS: This article provides a guide on how to use extended functions of bibliographic software to systematically complete the steps of appraising search results and coding references for inclusion in or exclusion from the systematic review. METHODS: The process is illustrated using an ongoing systematic review as a case description and using screenshots from the bibliographic database, EndNote®, the authors' preferred software program for the study. RESULTS: The case description illustrates how bibliographic software serves not only to organize and store search results, but also to appraise and code search results and to explicitly track researchers' decisions across the systematic review. CONCLUSION: Bibliographic tools can contribute to make the methods that researchers adopt for the phase following the initial literature search more transparent and systematic. The illustrative case description involves a systematic review of academic education in occupational therapy, but easily generalizes to systematic reviews in other health science professions.
King, R; Hooper, B; Wood, W
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