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Systematic review guide: 4. Screening with Covidence


Your search results will often find more articles than will actually be used in your final review. The screening process allows you to filter out those that do not meet your inclusion criteria. 

Screening usually involves a minimum of two reviewers, during this process each reviewer will look through each of the studies and if any conflicts are raised they are discussed together with reference to the inclusion and exclusion criteria. 

A typical process for screening includes the following steps. 

  1. Remove duplicate records from your results
  2. Examine titles and abstracts to exclude articles that don't meet the inclusion criteria
  3. Find the full text of relevant articles
  4. Keep together any reports referring to the same study
  5. Screen full-text articles against criteria for inclusion
  6. Make any final decisions on study inclusion

Covidence is a web-based tool that streamlines the production of systematic and scoping reviews. It supports title and abstract, and full-text screening, risk of bias assessment, the extraction of study characteristics and outcomes, and the export of data and references.

Covidence is the primary screening and data extraction tool for Cochrane authors, and has recently been endorsed by the Joanna Briggs Institute.

The University of Newcastle has a Covidence site licence. To create a review:

  • Connect to the University of Newcastle Covidence link, and complete the requested details. Ensure you use your UON email address (either '' or '').
  • An email from Covidence will be received - click Accept this invitation. You will be directed to the Covidence login screen - either sign in to Covidence or signup for an account.
  • Click Start a New Review, name the review, then ensure The University of Newcastle is selected as the account to use.


Watch the Introduction to Covidence Webinar (recorded 4 August 2022) to get started.