Evidence Synthesis Service

Evidence Synthesis Service

The University Libraries provides evidence synthesis support to CMU students, researchers and staff. Evidence synthesis includes methods such as systematic reviews and meta-analyses, scoping reviews, systematic mapping reviews, rapid reviews and other systematic or structured approaches to literature reviews.

Getting Started


Submit a Consultation Request



How can the Libraries help?

Librarians trained in evidence synthesis methods can provide support in many stages of the review process. For example, we can:

  • Provide guidance on which methodology best suits your research goals
  • Recommend databases and other information sources for searching
  • Design and implement comprehensive and reproducible database-specific search strategies 
  • Provide guidance and training on software for article screening including Covidence, Rayyan and SysRev
  • Assist in the use of citation management software for deduplication of records
  • Offer best practices for the documentation and reporting of searches
  • Offer guidance on performing comprehensive literature reviews for IACUC protocols, grant proposals, or evidence-based guidelines


Depending on the level of involvement, librarians can serve in either a consulting capacity, or can be a collaborator and co-author on your published review.

As a consultant on your review, we can provide:

  • Background information on evidence synthesis methods
  • Guidance on databases and information sources to search (including gray literature)
  • Guidance on designing comprehensive, reproducible searches
  • Recommendations about citation management and screening software
  • Peer-review of your search strategy
  • Guidance on documentation and reporting


As a co-author, we can:

  • Assist with question refinement and decisions about methodological approach
  • Select databases and gray literature sources for searching
  • Design, run and manage database and gray literature searches
  • Assist with deduplication across sources and preparation of the screening project
  • Advise and train the research team on screening methods and software
  • Provide reproducible documentation of the searches for publication
  • Write the search and retrieval portion of the methods section of the paper


Workshops and training

We offer a number of workshops related to advanced literature review and evidence synthesis methods. Check out the Libraries workshop calendar for upcoming live workshops and view pre-recorded workshops on our YouTube page.




CEO Compensation and Firm Financial Performance
Sarah Young and Ryan Splenda are collaborating with Prof. Denise Rousseau (Heinz/Tepper) on a systematic review that examines the question: “Does executive compensation predict publicly traded firms’ financial performance or inaccurate financial reporting?” This review will serve as a proof-of-concept for conducting high quality systematic reviews in business and management. This work is being done as part of the recently formed Business & Management Coordinating Group of The Campbell Collaboration, an “international social science research network that produces high quality, open and policy-relevant evidence syntheses.”


Macrophage Polarization in Nanoparticle-based Cancer Immunotherapy
Sarah Young and Melanie Gainey are collaborating with Dr. Elizabeth Wayne (Biomedical Engineering/Chemical Engineering) and a team of undergraduate and graduate students on a scoping review that addresses the following question: What is the relationship between nanoparticles used for cancer theranostics and macrophage polarization in the tumor microenvironment? As IMUR Faculty Fellows, they are also developing a course that explores using evidence synthesis as a model for undergraduate research.


Primary Contact(s)

Sarah Young

Sarah Young

Social Sciences Librarian

Director, Evidence Synthesis Program



Manage Information & Data

Work with our specialists to evaluate, select, and implement the tools to organize your data and keep your project on track.