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Covidence: Screening References

Covidence is a web-based platform that streamlines the process of conducting a comprehensive literature review.

Title/Abstract Screening

Once you have imported your references  you are ready to start screening.

To screen by title and abstract click the Screen tab. Make your decision by clicking on the Yes, Maybe or No buttons for each reference.

What you see when you submit your vote will depend on what your vote was and how many people are required to vote on each study during the screening phase. By default, a new review within Covidence is set up in dual screening mode, where another reviewer will have to vote before your study is moved to the next step, but you can change this in your review settings.

When in dual screening mode, two Yes or two Maybe votes will move a reference into full-text screening. Two No votes will move a reference to irrelevant, and one No vote and one Yes or Maybe vote will move a reference to the resolve conflicts area.  Once you have screened all studies by title-abstract, your team will need to resolve all conflicts before you move on to full-text screening. 


Full Text Screening

After you have completed your title-abstract screening, you will need to review the full text of all articles included at the title-abstract level. At this level, you will need to select an exclusion reason for any articles that you do not wish to include. You can find instructions for customizing your exclusion criteria under the Create a Review tab.


Tagging References

Covidence comes pre-populated with two tags: Ongoing Study, and Awaiting Classification. To use tags, simply check the box to the left-hand side of those citations you wish to tag.

Covidence tag menu

You can add a new tag to this list by typing your term in the "Tag with:" field and clicking "create new".  

Create a new tag in Covidence tag menu

Once created and applied to references, you can also filter by these tags. This can be especially useful to get a quick count of how many references received each tag. 

Using the filter menu to search for tags

Tags (as well as any notes entered) will currently export to Excel/CSV. For this reason, they are also visible to your co-reviewers.

Tracking Review & Screener Progress

You can track the contributions of each reviewer to the project under Team Settings on the main page for the review. 

Resolving Conflicts Between Screeners

When authors disagree about whether a reference should be moved from screening to full-text, or from full-text to included/excluded, it will appear on the Resolve Conflicts page. All current conflicts will show up in a list on this page, in very similar format to the screening page. 

If votes conflict, you must resolve with Yes, Maybe, or No

Covidence has chosen to blind the votes even during conflict resolution, displaying only who provided the conflicting votes and not what the votes were. This is with the goal of minimizing bias within the entire screening process and specifically minimizing bias for the person providing the conflict-resolving vote.

Title and Abstract conflicts:

In this page, you will see who voted, and three options for the final decision: yes, no, and maybe. Note that a 'maybe' vote will move the reference into full-text screening.

Full Text conflicts:

In this page, you will see who voted and have two potential choices to make. If there was one vote for inclusion and one for exclusion, your voting option will be to act as a tiebreaker and choose to either include or exclude it. If both reviewers have voted to exclude, but disagree on the exclusion reason, you will have to make a final decision on the reason for exclusion and assign the correct exclusion criteria.