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Optometry and Vision Science Research Guide: Syntheses and systematic reviews

Research resources and information for vision science.
  Evidence-based research and practice / Syntheses: systematic, scoping and literature reviews

Interactive Module on Systematic Searching

This interactive module will help you to understand the components of a systematic search for a focused research question.  Work through the worksheet activities to build a systematic search strategy on your own research topic.

Systematic review services for Optometry

1:1 Training

If you or your team are looking to conduct a review or are already working on one, I am always happy to meet with a faculty member, student, or RA to provide one-on-one training for using a specific database, reference manager, etc. 


A research librarian can create a customized search strategy for your research question and then apply that strategy with a level of comprehensive searching suitable for manuscript publication. Please connect with me if you are interested in this service. 

Microsoft Teams photo of Brie McConnellE-mail me or Book a virtual meeting with me on Microsoft Teams.

Review software

The University of Waterloo Library now has an institutional subscription to Covidence, a web-based software that streamlines the production of systematic reviews and other comprehensive literature reviews. It supports citation screening, full-text review, risk of bias assessment, extraction of study characteristics and outcomes, and the export of data and references.


Register for Waterloo Covidence accoun

  1. Request invitation through above link
  2. Enter your information using your UWATERLOO.CA email address
    and click "Request Invitation"
  3. Accept invitation in your email

Sign in to Covidence

If you have already joined the Waterloo Covidence account,
log in with your email and password and proceed to use Covidence
to access your reviews     

Who can use it?  Anyone with a University of Waterloo email account can have an institutional account to Covidence 

What does the institutional license provide?  Once you have signed up for a Waterloo institutional account,  you will have access to:

  • Unlimited number of reviews
  • Unlimited records for each review 
  • Unlimited number of reviewers for each review

How can I get an institutional account?  University of Waterloo affiliated users can register for the institutional subscription by following this link, logging in with your University of Waterloo email (  

How do I set up a new review?  Once you have set up your University of Waterloo account, you will see the option to use the organizational access (or the option to use your personal account license, if you have one) to "Create new review" . There are step-by-step instructions on creating new reviews on the University of Waterloo page in the Covidence Knowledge Base.  Note, reviews created under the institutional license will be visible to the adminitrators of the Waterloo Libraries Covidence account.  Your personal account review(s) will only be seen by you.

I am collaborating with colleagues from other institutions/research centres.  Can we use the University of Waterloo Covidence account for this inter-organizational review?  Yes, while the person creating the Covidence project must be a University of Waterloo affiliate, those from other institutions can be invited to participate in reviews.

However, when teams include non-UW affiliates involved in full text screening and data extraction, reviewers are cautioned to NOT upload the full text of articles obtained through University of Waterloo subscriptions or document delivery due to licensing and copyright restrictions.  There are restrictions on sharing full-text articles with individuals who are not associated with the University of Waterloo.

How do I conduct a....?

The guides listed below provide researchers with a comprehensive overview of the systematic review process.

Key methods papers

Open Courseware

Finding review articles

When using Google Scholar, set up the Google Scholar settings to link to Waterloo full text journals. Check the box and Save.