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Covidence: Setting Up a Project

This guide offers instructions and tips for using the Covidence platform and links to the most relevant resources from the Covidence Knowledge Base.

The Covidence Dashboard

• Clicking on the project name at the top of any page will bring you back to the dashboard.

• On the upper right are buttons to access the settings, PRISMA diagram, and export options.

• The main part of the dashboard shows the four phases of each Covidence project:

  • Import references
  • Title and abstract screening
  • Full text review
  • Extraction

• Clicking on each phase will show details on your progress, including the number of references:

  • Available for screening or extraction
  • Already completed
  • With conflicts to be resolved
  • Total in that phase

• Clicking on “Team settings” will offer additional status information and the ability to update the settings.

Importing and De-Duplicating References

Covidence works with citation managers such as EndNote, Zotero, RefWorks, Mendeley or any tool that supports RIS, CSV or PubMed XML formats.

  • In the Import section of the dashboard, select Import studies, then Import to Screen.
  • Use “Browse” to find the correct file or drag and drop it. Select “Import.”
  • Detailed information and instructions

Covidence will also help identify duplicate references. 

  • View the duplicates by going to “Imports” and then “Manage Imports.” Click "Check Duplicates" under the relevant import to see the references that were identified as duplicates.

Project Settings

Once you have created a review, visit the “Settings” at the top of the dashboard.

Review settings:

Although the default is to have two reviewers screen/extract each reference (and this is best practice for systematic reviews), it is possible to set one or all project phases to only require a single reviewer.

Team settings:

  • Get an overview of these settings.
  • “Manage Rules” allows you to have the project leader or senior team member review all the references before they move to the next phase.
    • You may decide to have the rule in place for a certain number of studies (e.g., the first 50) and then remove it if the number of conflicts is low (i.e., the reviewers are making similar screening decisions). To facilitate this, all reviewers should change the order in which the studies appear for screening to “Most recent.”
  • You can also designate one or more specific reviewers to make a final decision on conflicts. By default, any reviewer can resolve conflicts. 

Criteria and exclusion reasons:

  • Manage criteria for screening and full text review:
    • This list of inclusion and exclusion criteria can be viewed during both the title and abstract and full text screening.
    • Make sure the list is as clear and comprehensive as possible. If you have restrictions on study design, you should include them here.
  • Manage exclusion reasons (full text review only):
    • Think carefully about all the reasons a study might be excluded
    • But make sure each reason is:
      • Distinct (e.g., do not include both “pediatric population” and “wrong population,” which overlap).
      • Not vague or subject to multiple interpretations.
  • Manage highlights:
    • You can have words related to your inclusion (green) and exclusion (red) criteria highlighted in articles’ titles and abstracts during the screening phases.
      • These can be drawn from your search terms and/or inclusion and exclusion criteria but you should not include everything you searched.
      • Multi-word phrases are allowed but each word will be search separately.

Before allowing reviewers to start each level, the project team may want to test a few references to ensure all the settings and criteria are clear and nothing is missing.

Resources from Covidence

In addition to assistance provided by the library, Covidence offers extensive resources for users.

Introductory webinar 

  • You can sign up for the monthly live webinar or see a recording of a previous session.

Knowledge base 

  • This site has a wide variety of instructions and videos for different aspects of Covidence.

Email Covidence

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