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OBJECTIVE: To assist investigators planning, coordinating, and conducting systematic reviews in the selection of data-extraction tools for conducting systematic reviews. STUDY DESIGN AND SETTING: We constructed an initial table listing available data-collection tools and reflecting our experience with these tools and their performance. An international group of experts iteratively reviewed the table and reflected on the performance of the tools until no new insights and consensus resulted. RESULTS: Several tools are available to manage data in systematic reviews, including paper and pencil, spreadsheets, web-based surveys, electronic databases, and web-based specialized software. Each tool offers benefits and drawbacks: specialized web-based software is well suited in most ways, but is associated with higher setup costs. Other approaches vary in their setup costs and difficulty, training requirements, portability and accessibility, versatility, progress tracking, and the ability to manage, present, store, and retrieve data. CONCLUSION: Available funding, number and location of reviewers, data needs, and the complexity of the project should govern the selection of a data-extraction tool when conducting systematic reviews.

Original publication




Journal article


J Clin Epidemiol

Publication Date





506 - 510


Data Collection, Humans, Meta-Analysis as Topic, Review Literature as Topic, Software