The first step of the screening process is called abstract screening. That means you decide if a study is relevant to your reserach question by reading its abstract. This helps you reduce the number of full-text articles you have to retrieve and read later on in the screening process.
Gather a team
To get started, assemble a team of screeners. To avoid accidentally screening out a relevant article, and to save time, you’ll want to be sure you’re not doing this step all alone.
Start with a pilot round
Abstract screening typically begins with a “pilot round,” where all reviewers screen the same 100 or so abstracts. This helps you and your team refine your criteria for what kinds of articles should and shouldn’t be included. We call this your inclusion/exclusion criteria.