Searches in databases result in citations and abstracts. Most systematic review preparation information (Prisma Flow Diagram, Cochrane Handbook for Systematic Reviews of Interventions) suggest that authors begin by appraising abstracts only, not the full text of the article or other item, as it can be time-consuming and costly to obtain the full text of every item retrieved in a search.
After each abstract has been reviewed by 2 people, the whole group of authors should examine the reviewers' marks.
After appraising abstracts, your author team will have a set of abstracts they wish to include in the review and a set of citations without abstracts which may be included in the review. You must obtain the full items for all these citations.
Two authors should independently read each item to determine if they meet the inclusion/exclusion criteria. The reviewer opinions should be examined by the entire team, and disagreements in inclusion/exclusion should be discussed by the entire group of authors. You can use similar processes as you did for examining abstracts to record the reviewers' opinions of the full-text items. All co-authors need to have access to the full text of each item.
In addition to using the inclusion/exclusion criteria previously established, you can examine the quality of studies and data analyses.
The following websites provide worksheets for critical appraisal of different study types:
After you have completed this step, you will have identified all the acceptable articles and other items that meet your criteria. These items should now be moved onto the next step, data extraction and synthesis.