Western Libraries

Knowledge Synthesis: Systematic & Scoping Reviews

Screening Process

Best practice is to have more than one reviewer screen studies for eligibility in a two-step process, beginning with title/abstracts and then moving to full-text articles. 

Your review protocol developed at the beginning of your review will have outlined inclusion and exclusion criteria.  These will form the basis of the screening process.

Begin by screening titles and abstracts to remove obviously irrelevant material. At this stage you may not need to provide justification for your exclusions.

You will then need to examine the full text of an article for more detailed screening against your eligibility criteria. At this stage you must provide reasons why you exclude documents.


  • appropriate study population (age, geography, illness)
  • appropriate intervention/method/measurements
  • comparable environment/ population 
  • language - can the article be sourced/translated in the language required?

When reviewing the full text of the article, consider:

  • appropriate method/measurement
  • appropriate sample size
  • duplication of data  (avoid counting the same data twice)
  • access to data not included in the article if required