Systematic Reviews and Mediated Searches

In collaboration with the Department of Clinical Research (DKF), we offer methodological and statistical support in all phases of your project.

1. Your Team & Funding

In addition to content experts, international standards and handbooks recommend the inclusion of other experts into the review team, namely methodologists, information specialists, and statisticians. For systematic review authors who are planning to work with us, we and the DKF also offer support for grant applications, e.g. by performing a scoping search or calculating a sample size.

2. Developing Your Research Question

We and the DKF offer support for defining a precise research question (e.g. following the population-intervention-control-outcome scheme). We also help identifying systematic reviews and systematic review protocols that are relevant to your topic.

3. Choosing a Review Type & Registering Your Protocol

We offer support for selecting a suitable type of review (e.g. systematic review, scoping review, rapid review). Reporting guidelines encourage the registration of systematic review protocols (e.g. according to Prisma-P). We support such registrations in the PROSPERO Systematic Review Protocol Registry.

4. Searching & Search Management

Services offered:

  • Searching bibliographic databases (Medline, Embase, Cochrane Library, Cinahl, PsycInfo, Web of Science etc.)
  • Searching in clinical trials registries (e.g. and for gray literature
  • Citation chasing (snowball-techniques)
  • Export to EndNote and deduplication of results

5. Screening & Documentation

We and the DKF offer help with the initial screening of results (title, abstract) and the documentation of the review process.

6. Appraising the Quality, Risk of Bias & Synthesizing the Evidence

For help with quality appraisal, risk of bias, descriptive or statistical evaluation (meta-analysis), and data interpretation, see the DKF website.

7. Publishing

Depending on what we supported you with, we write the corresponding sections in the Methods and Results according to PRISMA.

On request, we also process mediated searches for study types other than Systematic Reviews.


For further information and to schedule a consulting appointment, please fill in the form and send it to: research-medlib[at]



For members of the University or the University Hospital Basel, the first one-hour consultation, including preparation and follow-up, is free of charge per project. Further services will be invoiced according to a written quote. The hourly rate is CHF 125.- (excl. 20% overhead for externals and VAT for externals and students). BA/MA students of the University of Basel are granted a 50% discount.



Extensive search strategies are the very foundation of systematic reviews or similar study types. By designing searches, giving critical conceptual input, drafting method and result paragraphs on this process, and giving final approval of and accountability for the manuscript, our information specialists (Dr. Hannah Ewald or PD Dr. Christian Appenzeller-Herzog) help ensuring  high quality standards and reproducibility of the research. In agreement with current guidelines, we consider co-authorship on resulting publications appropriate.

Our Publications

Our Publications

Ladanie A, Ewald H, Kasenda B, Hemkens LG. How to use FDA drug approval documents for evidence syntheses. BMJ 2018;362:k2815.

Speich B, Thomer A, Aghlmandi S, Ewald H, Zeller A, Hemkens LG. Treatments for subacute cough in primary care: systematic review and meta-analyses of randomised clinical trials. Br J Gen Pract. 2018;68(675):e694-e702.

Ladanie A, Speich B, Naudet F, Agarwal A, Pereira TV, Sclafani F, Martin-Liberal J, Schmid T, Ewald H, Ioannidis JPA, et al. The Comparative Effectiveness of Innovative Treatments for Cancer (CEIT-Cancer) project: Rationale and design of the database and the collection of evidence available at approval of novel drugs. Trials 2018;19(1):505.

Ewald H, Speich B, Ladanie A, et al. Marginal structural models and other analyses allow multiple estimates of treatment effects in randomized clinical trials: Meta-epidemiological analysis. Journal of Clinical Epidemiology 2019;107:12-26.

Brupbacher G, Gerger H, Wechsler M, Zander-Schellenberg T, et al. The effects of aerobic, resistance, and meditative movement exercise on sleep in individuals with depression: protocol for a systematic review and network meta-analysis. Systematic Reviews 2019;8:105.

Speich B, Bausch K, Roth JA, Hemkens LG, Ewald H, et al. Single-dose versus 3-day cotrimoxazole prophylaxis in transurethral resection or greenlight laser vaporisation of the prostate: study protocol for a multicentre randomised placebo controlled non-inferiority trial (CITrUS trial). Trials 2019;20(1):142.

Mc Cord KA, Ewald H, Ladanie A, Briel M, et al. Current use and costs of electronic health records for clinical trial research: a descriptive study. CMAJ open 2019;7(1):E23-e32.

Appenzeller-Herzog C, Mathes T, Heeres MLS, Weiss KH, Houwen RHJ, Ewald H. Comparative effectiveness of common therapies for Wilson disease: A systematic review and meta-analysis of controlled studies. Liver International 2019 (in press)

Becker C, Lecheler L, Hochstrasser S, Metzger KA, Widmer M, Thommen EB, Nienhaus K, Ewald H, Meier CA, Rueter F, et al. Association of Communication Interventions to Discuss Code Status With Patient Decisions for Do-Not-Resuscitate Orders: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis. JAMA Network Open 2019;2(6):e195033-e33.