Available Until 12/31/2028

Beyond Systematic: The Librarian’s Role in Shaping Reviews

As review articles evolved from traditional narrative reviews to methods-based reviews, the librarian’s role likewise evolved from the traditional literature searcher to expert searcher and review methodology navigator. The “systematic review” buzzword now encompasses a variety of methodologies and review types, from the well-known systematic reviews and meta-analyses to rapid reviews, scoping reviews, meta-syntheses, and more.

Navigating these less well-known or evolving methodologies and guiding researchers along the entire process of the review are essential components of shaping the review. Using cases from the field, librarians and review experts will describe some of the methodologies beyond the systematic review and highlight how they are best put to use. Since many tough systematic review questions are situation specific, experts will also tackle viewer-submitted stumpers and share tips for shaping and framing the research question and guiding researchers to the best review type for their questions. Overall, this webcast will help viewers to differentiate among methods, understand how to shape research questions, and better guide researchers to choose appropriate methods.



Melissa Rethlefsen, AHIP, is the deputy director of the Spencer S. Eccles Health Sciences Library at the University of Utah–Salt Lake City. Previous to her position at the University of Utah, she worked at the University of Minnesota Bio-Medical Library, the Minnesota Department of Health R.N. Barr Library, and the Mayo Clinic. She is interested in systematic review methodology, particularly in reproducibility of search strategies and the librarian’s role in reporting quality, and she has published several journal articles on this topic, including the article, “Librarian Co-Authors Correlated with Higher Quality Reported Search Strategies in General Internal Medicine Systematic Reviews,” in the Journal of Clinical Epidemiology, for which she and her coauthors received the Public Health/Health Administration Section Research Award in 2016. In 2015, she was awarded the Estelle Brodman Award for Academic Medical Librarian of the Year.


Whitney A. Townsend is an informationist and coordinator of the Health Sciences Executive Research SerWhitney A. Townsendvice in the Taubman Health Sciences Library at the University of Michigan–Ann Arbor. She partners with the faculty and staff of numerous clinical departments of the University of Michigan Health System to best address information needs related to their clinical, research, and academic missions. Townsend is deeply embedded in curriculum-integrated instruction in the medical school and is actively involved in integrating information skills components into the school’s current curriculum reform. Townsend has been a member of numerous systematic review teams; teaches a session on systematic review appraisal for third-year medical students; instructs on systematic review searching and information management for residents, fellows, and faculty; and is an instructor for a systematic review workshop funded by the Greater Midwest Region of the National Network of Libraries of Medicine.


Joey Nicholson is the education and curriculum librarian and coordinator for Systematic Review Services at the New York University (NYU) Langone Medical Center. In his roles, he collaborates with researchers, students, and doctors across the institution to conduct and complete systematic reviews and meta-analyses. He also helps mentor and guide the other librarians at NYU in offering systematic review support, including helping negotiate with researchers, determing if projects will actually succeed, conducting peer review of search strategies, and instructing small groups. Additionally, he co-teaches a semester-long course offered through the School of Medicine on systematic review and meta-analysis methods as part of a master’s of Science in clinical investigation.


Recorded Presenter

Jehad Almasri is a Syrian research fellow at the Evidence-based Practice Center (EPC), Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN. Almasri graduated from the Damascus University medical school in March 2014. He started as a research trainee in May 2014 and became a research fellow in November 2014. Almasri has participated in more than twenty-five systematic reviews during that period as a leader or a coauthor in different areas of medicine. In April 2016, he was promoted to become an educational coordinator of EPC, Mayo Clinic. Currently, he is organizing an evidence-based clinical practice workshop for EPC and the Knowledge and Evaluation Research (KER) unit, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN.