Hi Susan

We too get summer students and systematic reviews are popular for them as well. However a PICO question is not really the way to go for most of these reviews and a different approach is needed. My colleagues give them a session on database searching and I give them PubMed. We then meet with them to discuss their research question and possible search scenarios and the number of articles they are expecting to review. They then do some searching and evaluate the results and return for refinement. As you know you can't teach someone to do a systematic review in an hour. I do give them some reading material on how to conduct a systematic review.

The people who need educating are the faculty staff who don't know what is required and are setting up the student for disappointment and a feeling of inadequacy. I do also sometimes wonder if they really mean a systematic review.

I know this isn't the answer but you do have to manage your situation and your students as best you can.

I will be interested in others comments on this as well.


Megan Clark 
Library Manager 
Philson Library/Te Herenga Hauora
Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences
09 373-7599 x 86130 DDI 923-6130

-----Original Message-----
From: Medical Libraries Discussion List [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Susan Fowler
Sent: Tuesday, 2 July 2013 3:05 a.m.
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Besieged by Summer Students?

I have gotten two emails today that basically say,

"Dr. So and So thinks a systematic review will be a fun project for Joe the medical student who is visiting us this summer until August (note that is less then one month at this point). Can you teach our summer student how to do a systematic review in the span of a one hour meeting?"

So far I have used the following, "Great! Please send me the PICO question, inclusion and exclusion criteria, and 2-3 key articles that fit with in the review. Once I have these we can set up a good time to meet. Thanks!"

I feel bad though. It does not seem like they are going to have a very meaningful experience with their Doc or with me.

Any ideas?

Susan Fowler, MLIS
Medical Librarian

Evidence at Becker:

Systematic Reviews Guide:

Becker Medical Library, Washington University in St. Louis
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