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Covidence: Screening References

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

Title and Abstract Screening

See an overview of this phase.

Before you start screening, click:

  • Show criteria – Reveals list of inclusion and exclusion criteria
  • Show highlights – Highlights words related to the inclusion (green) and/or exclusion (red) criteria
  • View abstracts – Makes abstracts visible

References can be sorted by relevance, author, title, or date using the drop down on the upper right. We recommend using "Most recent."

The "Tags" option can be a valuable way to track subsets of articles (e.g., related to different populations, questions, or article types), which you can then filter your results by. Tags can be added as you go.

  • You must click the box beside the article to add a tag.
  • You can have as many tags on one article as you want.

Keep in mind:

  • The "Maybe" response is essentially a "Yes." Both move the reference to the next phase and having one "Yes" and one "Maybe" vote on the same study is not considered a conflict.
  • If using dual screening, the two reviewers will only be able to see their own votes and will not know how the other one voted until the next phase of the review.

What if I need to undo a vote?

How do I resolve conflicts?

Full Text Review

See an overview of this phase.

The full text of each article must be uploaded before the review begins. This can be done:

  • One study at a time – Click “Add full text” beneath the reference for each article and choose the relevant file.
  • In bulk from a citation managerSee instructions at:
  • Covidence will now automatically add the PDFs for some articles that are open access.
  • You may want to export the list of reference that you need full text for to a citation manager (which may be able to search for and add PDFs for some articles), Excel (to track the status of finding full text for each paper), or both.

Once full text has been added, you can access it by selecting “View full text” under the reference and then clicking on the PDF. It will open in a new tab or window (depending on your browser and settings).

Keep in mind:

  • Reviewers can only choose one reason for exclusion.
  • Reasons for exclusion can be added during screening by choosing “Edit this list” at the bottom of the dropdown.
    • However, letting reviewers add reasons during screening is not advisable. This can result in reviewers including reasons that duplicate or overlap with existing answers or whose meaning is unclear.
  • If using dual screening, both reviewers must choose the same exclusion reason. Otherwise, it will count as a conflict.
    • As for the title and abstract screening, the two reviewers will not know how the other voted until the next phase of the project.

What if I need to undo a vote?

How do I resolve conflicts?

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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