Various platforms/tools for data extraction

Here’s a quick overview of some of the tools you might use for data extraction, including our take on the challenges with using them.


Tools
Learning CurveExportabilityCost/EfficiencyCollaborative Work
Word Editing Software(e.g., Microsoft Word, Google Docs)Low Challenge – most people know how to use some form of word editor.High Challenge  – Study data entered into a word editor will need to be copied/pasted or manually typed into a spreadsheet before it can be read by statistical software.Low Challenges – Some forms of word editing software comes preloaded on most computers.
If tables in the report of your systematic review are to be created in a word editing software, having the data in that software already can be convenient.
High Challenges – Unless your team is using a cloud based word editing tool (e.g., Google Documents), your team won’t be able to work on the same document at the same time. 
If changes need to be made to the form, this can be difficult to accomplish comprehensively across forms for studies that have already been extracted.
Spreadsheet Editing Software(e.g., Microsoft Excel, Google Sheets)Low Challenge – most people know how to use some form of spreadsheet editor.Low Challenge – it’s easy to export data into  statistical software (if the form has been developed with this in mind).
High challenge – requires data cleaning and manipulation before it can be meaningfully read by statistical software.May require combining rows of data across many files (studies) into a comprehensive file.
Low Challenge – Some form of spreadsheet editing software comes preloaded on most computers.
High Challenges – Unless your team is using a cloud based spreadsheet tool (e.g., Google Sheets), your team won’t be able to work on the same document at the same time. 
– Easy to mess up or accidentally change the sort order and relationships between columns.  – There is no easy way to enter checkboxes.
If changes need to be made to the form, this can be difficult to accomplish comprehensively across forms for studies that have already been extracted.
Relational Database Software(e.g., Microsoft Access)High Challenge – If your team has little or no data entry experience, using this type of tool will require some training. Low Challenge – It’s easy to export data from a relational database such as Microsoft Access.Moderate Challenge – You may have to purchase relational database software such as Microsoft Access.High Challenge – Unless you’re using a cloud based file sharing service (e.g., Dropbox), your team won’t be able to work on the same project at the same time.  
Online, Cloud based data extraction toolDepends – Many people have experience filling out or even creating a survey online,  but other online tools (e.g., SRDR) include tutorials which take approximately anywhere from an hour to longer to complete.Depends – Usually, study data saved in an online database such as SRDR can be downloaded in a spreadsheet format (.xlsx or .csv) that can then be read by statistical software. However, the downloaded spreadsheet requires data cleaning and manipulation before it can be meaningfully read by statistical software.Depends – You have to purchase licenses for some online data extraction tools (e.g., DistillerSR). Other tools, such as SRDR, are free. Low Challenge – Online, cloud based data extraction tools are designed to be accessed from any computer with an internet browser.