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Frequently Asked Questions

Who should use MetaReviewer?
MetaReviewer is designed for the synthesist who is new to conducting an evidence synthesis. Our target audience member is a person who wants to move beyond a spreadsheet but doesn’t have the resources to purchase dedicated software or design a custom-made database. However, synthesists with lots of experience also can and should use MetaReviewer.
What aspects of the review process can MetaReviewer assist with?
MetaReviewer will assist review teams in the process of collecting data from individual studies, usually referred to as “study coding” or “data extraction.” MetaReviewer’s tools will help synthesists design a coding form, create a relational database, manage team assignments, collect study information, identify and calculate effect size statistics, reconcile coding differences, and convert the collected data into a spreadsheet that can be easily imported into any software for analysis.
What do I need to have ready in order to start using MetaReviewer?
The ideal project will have conducted the literature search and abstract screening. Users should be ready to upload citations that require full-text retrieval and screening. We also recommend that users have developed a clearly defined protocol for full-text screening (if using MetaReviewer for this purpose) and a clearly defined codebook for data extraction. MetaReviewer will then automate the process of creating custom coding forms based on the project’s protocol and/or codebook to meet the specific needs of your project. MetaReviewer provides templates for various synthesis scenarios common in the social and behavioral sciences. Once a user has the list of citations and a codebook ready, the project team should use the setup wizard to populate the review.
Will MetaReviewer help me search the literature?
No. MetaReviewer currently is not designed to help with literature searching. However, MetaReviewer does have functionality that allows users to import citation data and link multiple citations to the same study, or multiple studies to the same citation. We hope to add search functionality in the future.
What should I do if I want to use MetaReviewer for screening?
MetaReviewer can be used to conduct full-text screening, as described in our user guide. However, MetaReviewer does not currently have functionality that accommodates abstract screening. The MetaReviewer team is working on building functionality to support abstract screening into a future version of the software.
Will MetaReviewer help me conduct data analysis?
Not specifically. MetaReviewer will be helpful to users who need to identify specific effect size data, and it can calculate a range of effect sizes automatically based on available information. MetaReviewer will also be helpful to users who need a formatted spreadsheet that can be imported into R, Stata, or other statistical software for analysis.
I don't know what an evidence synthesis is. Will MetaReviewer help me understand it?
MetaReviewer is designed for individuals who have a basic understanding of the evidence synthesis process. Users interested in learning more about evidence syntheses should consult papers like this one for a good primer. Our MOSAIC website also has helpful resources.
Will you be holding trainings on MetaReviewer?
We have recorded a number of resources to support users in learning MetaReviewer. In addition to our full launch webinar, we have recorded short tutorials on specific features, and we have a blog with regular posts detailing how to use MetaReviewer features. Visit MetaReviewer’s YouTube Channel for all these videos and more.
I signed up for MetaReviewer but nothing happened. Who should I contact?
We typically process new access requests around 5 pm Eastern time each business day; please allow one full business day to receive your login information. If after a full business day you still have not received your login information, please send an email to
Can someone help me solve a specific problem I’m having with MetaReviewer?
Most issues can be resolved by reviewing the user documentation, which users will have access to upon signing up for MetaReviewer. Although we do not have the capacity to troubleshoot all issues with users currently, please direct all questions to our support team at
How long will my project and data be stored in MetaReviewer?
MetaReviewer’s current funding status ensures continuous access for the next five years, and we continue to seek additional funding to maintain and update MetaReviewer beyond five years. You may delete projects and data from MetaReviewer at any time.
Will other people not on the project be able to access my project data?
No. Only people to whom synthesists grant project access will be able to view and edit project data.
How much does MetaReviewer cost?
It’s free! We are committed to creating and providing a high-quality tool for applied researchers conducting a systematic review and meta-analysis who may not have access to financial resources. We do not have any plans to charge users in the future.
If I become a MetaReviewer user, am I under any obligation to pay any fees or provide feedback?
Users will not be obligated to pay any fees. We reserve the right to restrict users from creating very large projects, but we do not anticipate this will be an issue. We may ask users to voluntarily provide their feedback from time to time to inform ongoing development that will benefit users, but users are under no obligation to provide feedback.
I love MetaReviewer so much I want to help offset its costs, Can I send someone money?
The Methods of Synthesis and Integration (MOSAIC) team would love to work with you. However, at this time, we cannot accept any direct contributions.
I’m in charge of an evidence synthesis and would like to work with your team. Who should I contact?
If you’d like to work with us on an upcoming synthesis project, please send an email to Josh Polanin:
Can I use one of MetaReviewer’s functions for a different purpose than conducting an evidence synthesis?
No. MetaReviewer is designed for the sole purpose of conducting an evidence synthesis. Users who intend to modify the application of the program for a different purpose will violate the Terms of Agreement and their accounts are subject to immediate deletion.