High Level Reviews (systematic, integrative, scoping)

Integrative Reviews, Scoping Reviews, and Systematic Reviews are high level literature reviews.

Screening overview

Integrative reviews  Scoping reviews  Systematic reviews


Once you have finished running your search in your selected databases, as listed in your protocol, the results need to be screened.

The screening process should involve:

  • Integrative review: minimum of 2 reviewers
  • Scoping Review: minimum of 2 reviewers, plus a reviewer to oversee differences
  • Systematic Review: minimum of 2 reviewers, plus one topic expert to oversee differences

The number of reviewers is to reduce the risk of bias in the review process.


The screening process is undertaken in two stages. You and your fellow reviewer/s will determine in each stage if each individual article meets the eligibility criteria (inclusion/exclusion) outlined in your protocol.

Stage 1 – First pass (Title and Abstract)

For the first pass you will review the title and abstract of each article. This stage enables you to remove any articles that are not relevant to your review.

Stage 2 – Second pass (Full Text)

The second pass requires you to review the full text articles against your eligibility criteria for compliance. During this stage you must record the reasons for exclusion.


Video Watch a short video on screening your results (1:38).

Full text selection

Once the title and abstract stage has been completed you will need to obtain copies of the full text articles of the remaining studies.

Once you have obtained all the full text articles you require for your high level review you need to review each article against your inclusion criteria. This stage will be undertaken by yourself and other member/s of your review team. Again, this is dependent on the type of high level review you are undertaking.

It is imperative that you record detailed information during this phase as you will need to provide evidence of your method and results within your review document.

  • If you are unable to obtain a full text paper, you will need to clearly identify the references you were unable to obtain as a limitation in your review.

  • If a paper does not meet the criteria, you must record the exclusion reason. This can be documented in Covidence or EndNote, depending on which platform you are using for your review. If you are not using a software product you can create an excel document to record this information.

If you are using Covidence your PRISMA Flow opens in a new window will be updated automatically as you go through the screening phase.

How do I get full text if it's not in the database?

Now, while a lot of your articles will be available online you may find that there are some that you are unable to access.

CQUniversity library offers a Document Delivery to researchers. To be eligible you must meet the following criteria:

  • full-time or part-time academic staff who contribute to the research output of Central Queensland University

  • students enrolled in a higher degree research program, PhD, EdD, Doctor of Business, Masters by Research or Professional Doctorate

Covidence for screening and data extraction

Covidence is a tool that assists researchers through the screening and data extraction processes of their high level reviews. For more information and access to this tool, see our Covidence guide.