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Systematic Reviews: Data Extraction

What data do I extract?

The data you extract depends on the question you're trying to answer. Different research questions have different data needs. Typical data elements often include: 

  • Study characteristics (author, year, title, location)
  • Participant characteristics (age, sex, ethnicity, diseases) 
  • Methodology (study type, patient recruitment/selection/allocation, level of evidence, study quality)
  • Intervention (control, quantity, dose, route of administration, duration, setting)
  • Outcomes (unit and method of measurement, length of follow-up, number of patients (included, withdrawn)

More Guidance on Data Extraction

What do I do with the data?

The data you extract goes into your evidence and summary tables. These can include: 

  • Quality assessment of individual studies (Risk of Bias) 
  • Applicability assessment 
  • Summary of findings table
  • Characteristics of included studies 
  • Quantitative data synthesis
  • Sensitivity analysis
  • Grading the strength of evidence
  • Forest plot 

Data Extraction Templates and Software

There are many tools to extract data. You can create your own form in Word or Excel. Some software helps you do it, but you still have to input which data you want to extract: