When I shared this with a colleague who had just written a short article for our library magazine in response to much the same requests (Melissa Rethlefsen,
Her comment was "Oh, my. It's a pandemic!"  

I just spent two weeks working on search strategies - not 80 hours, but darn close to 40, between strategy iterations.  And it is very specific (blessings upon people who have done their homework first!)  What many don't understand is how much time THEY will have to spend extracting data - one physician colleague likened it to running a marathon.

Patricia J Erwin, MLS
Lead Reference Librarian
12-47 Plummer Bldg
Mayo Clinic Libraries
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-----Original Message-----
From: Medical Libraries Discussion List [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Marix, Mary
Sent: Monday, July 01, 2013 3:34 PM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: Besieged by Summer Students?

To me, this is the whole issue.  The faculty making the assignments have no clue as to what goes into a true, rigorous systematic review.  They just use the latest buzzword.  And they are giving the students a whole, wrong notion of systematic reviews.  

From what I have been taught, a systematic review can be expected to take from 1 to 1 1/2 years to do well.  Usually several people are involved as thousands of articles must be assessed and perhaps dozens of databases used.  And rigorous records must be kept of search strategies used for each database.  And then, for the most promising articles, reference lists are reviewed and pertinent articles retrieved, manually!  

Have these faculty (and students) ever read a Cochrane or Joanna Briggs Review?  Doing so might give them an idea of the work that went into it.

These faculty would be better serving their students if they just assigned an ordinary literature review which covered a substantial number of years and had the student write it up as though for publication.

Mary L. Marix, M.L.S., AHIP   ([log in to unmask]) Reference Librarian Library, Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center in New Orleans
433 Bolivar St., Box B3-1, New Orleans, LA  70112-7021
(504) 568-8339 

>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.--Megan Clark<