Systematic Reviews: Data Extraction Tools

This guide provides information and resources which may be helpful when undertaking a systematic review or other type of knowledge synthesis.

Tools for Data Extraction

"data filtration" by Vectors Point from the Noun Project

Using Covidence for Data Extraction

*For Covidence users, it's advised to review the Data Extraction Video (~ 1 hr.) and Step-by-Step Guide before proceeding with developing a data extraction template. The Q&A video may also be helpful.

To use the data extraction template in Covidence, select the studies for extraction from the Review Summary screen. The Data Extraction Template button brings up an example template with an editing function and preview pane or you may create a template from scratch. Be sure to save any firm changes. Once the template has been developed, publish it to provide access to the other reviewers on the team.  Changes may be made after extraction has begun although this will require returning to studies for further review, extraction and consensus.  

Other Data Collection Tools

Various tools may be used to combine collected data (testing and refining may be required).

Format Examples
Word processors Microsoft Word, Google Docs
Spreadsheets Microsoft Excel, Google Sheets
Databases Microsoft Access
Survey forms Google Forms, REDCap
Software (in addition to Covidence)

RobotReviewerSystematic Review Data Repository (SRDR+), WebPlotDigitizer

GradePro offers limited free use

References & Recommended Reading

1.    Elamin MB, Flynn DN, Bassler D, et al. Choice of data extraction tools for systematic reviews depends on resources and review complexity. Journal of clinical epidemiology. 2009;62(5):506-10. doi:

2.    Systematic Review Data Repository User Plus (SRDR+) User Guide. User Guide. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ). Updated April 12, 2021. Accessed August 17, 2021.

3.    Data Extraction using SRDR+. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ). Accessed August 17, 2021.

4.    Marshall IJ, Kuiper J, Banner E, Wallace BC. Automating biomedical evidence synthesis: Robotreviewer. In: ACL 2017 - 55th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics, Proceedings of System Demonstrations. Association for Computational Linguistics (ACL); 2017:7-12.

5.    Cramond F, O'Mara-Eves A, Doran-Constant L, Rice AS, Macleod M, Thomas J. The development and evaluation of an online application to assist in the extraction of data from graphs for use in systematic reviews. Wellcome open research. 2018;3:157. doi: