How do I document a grey literature search for my PRISMA flow diagram?

Answered By: HSL Ask Us Librarians
Last Updated: Jun 20, 2022     Views: view

To document your grey literature search, download the flow diagram template version 1 PRISMA 2020 flow diagram for new systematic reviews which included searches of databases, registers and other sources or the version 2 PRISMA 2020 flow diagram for updated systematic reviews which included searches of databases, registers and other sources.  Complete the boxes documenting your database searches on the left side of the template as outlined in the previous box Step-by-step: PRISMA 2020 Flow Diagram.  Complete the right side of the template, Identification of studies via other methods, using the steps below.
Step 1: Records Identified If you have identified articles through other sources than databases (such as manual searches through reference lists of articles you have found or search engines like Google Scholar), enter the total number of records from each source type in the box on the top right of the flow diagram.
Records identified from websites, organizations, citation searching, or other methods
Step 2: Reports Sought for Retrieval This should be the total number of reports you obtain from each grey literature source. 
Reports sought for retrieval
Step 3: Reports Not Retrieved List the number of documents for which you are unable to find the full text.  Remember to use Find@UNC and Interlibrary Loan to request items to see if we can order them from other libraries before automatically excluding them.
Reports not retrieved
Step 4: Reports Assessed for Eligibility This should be the number of grey literature reports sought for retrieval (Step 2) minus the number of reports not retrieved (Step 3). Review the full text for these items to assess their eligibility for inclusion in your systematic review. 
Reports assessed for eligibility (full text)
Step 5: Reports excluded After reviewing all items in the full-text screening stage for eligibility, enter the total number of articles you exclude in the box titled "Reports Excluded," and then list your reasons for excluding the item as well as the number of items excluded for each reason.  Examples include wrong setting, wrong patient population, wrong intervention, wrong dosage, etc.  You should only count an excluded item once in your list even if if meets multiple exclusion criteria.
Reports excluded, with reasons for exclusion and number


Step 6: Included Studies The final step is to subtract the number of excluded articles or records during the eligibility review of full-texts from the total number of articles reviewed for eligibility. Enter this number in the box labeled "Studies included in review," combining numbers with your database search results in this box if needed.  You have now completed your PRISMA flow diagram, which you can now include in the results section of your article or assignment.

Studies included in review

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