Excel

SRDR is a great tool, but what if you’re in a location with unreliable internet access? Or what if your systematic review involves fairly straightforward data extraction and you’re comfortable with your reviewers?

You could always create a data extraction form in Excel. Just type the headings of your data elements in the top row and include a tab with instructions, or a “legend” for your data extractors. Just be aware, there’s a lot of potential for human error when you use this kind of open ended approach in Excel. For example, you might accidentally sort your rows in a way that scrambles all of your data.

Here’s a snapshot of an excel form we used at CESH:

And here are some of the instructions that came with it:

In this case, we used a new file for each study and for each extractor. That’s another example of one of the drawbacks of using Excel – unlike SRDR, you can’t have two data extractors working on the same project at the same time. For this project, we had to combine the information from each Excel sheet later on in the process.