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Data Extraction Tip 2: Plan Ahead

Plan Ahead

Welcome to Tip 2 in our blog series on Top Tips for Data Extraction, where we delve into essential tips for efficient and successful data extraction using extracts from our latest ebook: ‘A practical guide: Data Extraction for Intervention Systemic Reviews’. In this instalment, we focus on the crucial element of planning ahead. The significance of meticulous planning cannot be overstated, as it lays the foundation for a streamlined and effective data extraction process. By proactively addressing potential challenges and uncertainties, a well-thought-out plan minimises the need for rework, ensuring a smoother journey from start to finish.

Plan approach

Planning a well-defined data extraction approach before starting the extraction process is crucial. This will minimise the need for rework, mitigate unforeseen circumstances, and address uncertainties.

During data extraction, if your methods, template or protocol change you can update your checklist to reflect this. Keeping a log of when and why your methods have changed will allow you to document a transparent and reproducible process.


We have created a data extraction planning checklist based on the PRISMA checklist items. PRISMA (Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses) is an evidence­-based minimum set of items for reporting in systematic reviews and meta-analyses. It consists of a 27-item checklist and a flow diagram. Using the PRISMA checklist helps maintain a high standard of transparency and rigour for your review. You can use this empty planning checklist for your review.

If you complete this checklist before you begin data extraction it will allow you to think about the methods you intend to use. Going through these items in advance will help make sure your template is comprehensive and will also assist when preparing a manuscript, if that is the intention of your review team.


Preparation is key. By completing this checklist before extraction, you not only refine your methods but also pave the way for a transparent and reproducible process.

To help with your systematic review, we’ve created a data extraction planning checklist that you can access by downloading ‘A practical guide: Data Extraction for Intervention Systematic Reviews’ below.

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Download the ebook

A Practical Guide: Data Extraction for Intervention Systematic Reviews



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