Skip to Main Content
Boxer Library

Nurse Anesthesia Program Research Toolbox

Find helpful tips and educational resources for researching as you move through your CRNA program.

Helpful Tools

You will be familiar with these resources. These resources can continue to help you as you evolve your project into an Evidence Synthesis review.

Preparing For Your Project

In 902, you learned how to develop a useful PICO(T) question, how to determine what makes study relevant to your question, and how to conduct a robust search. You will now be able to apply those same skills and tools to your Evidence Synthesis Review Project. 

Your Evidence Synthesis Review Project is different in a few key ways:

  • Your review will need to follow best practices to ensure that it is quality (reproducible and transparent)
  • You will need to consider a question that will be right for a review
    • Will a review on the topic you choose actually add value to the scientific literature? In other words, does it really need to be done or are you trying to do a review just to complete your assignment? If not, consider a different topic. You will be doing a lot of work on this project and, if done well, it could be a good opportunity to publish!

Remember that the goal of a systematic or scoping review is to review and synthesis all possible literature on a topic that matches pre-defined inclusion and/or exclusion criteria in order to answer a research question. All reviews have these important elements.

  • A clear and useful research question (PICO for systematic reviews; PCC for scoping reviews)
  • Predetermined relevant inclusion and/or exclusion criteria
    • This will define the BOUNDARIES of your review
  • A comprehensively crafted search strategy to be translated into multiple database

The rest of this guide will discuss new items that you should be familiar with in order to successfully develop a systematic or scoping review. 

Review Best Practice Guidance

There are best practices that reviews should follow to ensure that the review is done in a transparent and reproducible way. Like any scientific study, you want to make sure that you are transparent about your research question, methods, and how you reached your conclusion. You also want to make sure that our review is reproducible so that anyone who wanted to test your results by completing the same process as you could do so.

RFU Center for Interprofessional Evidence Based Practice is a JBI Center of Excellence. JBI has a Manual for Evidence Synthesis that can help you learn best practices for an evidence synthesis review.


PRISMA stands for the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses. PRISMA should be used to guide how you report your search. A quality systematic or scoping review should include a PRISMA flow diagram to show how your results changed as you moved through your review. 

Blank PRISMA Flow Chart

Example of a blank PRISMA Flow Chart. From: Page MJ, McKenzie JE, Bossuyt PM, Boutron I, Hoffmann TC, Mulrow CD, et al. The PRISMA 2020 statement: an updated guideline for reporting systematic reviews. BMJ 2021;372:n71. doi: 10.1136/bmj.n71

Citation and Review Software

Citation Management Software

Citation management software helps you save and organize your citations. This is extremely important when dealing with the amount of citations used in a review project (can be hundreds, even thousands!). You will learn about RefWorks during your CRNA program, which is a citation manager that you have access to as an RFUMS student.

Review Software

The following software are FREE tools that you can use to help you with tracking your project, the inclusion/exclusion process, and critical appraisal. You are not required to utilize these software, but you can explore them to see if they are something you would like to take advantage of.