Collaborating with UTSC Librarians
UTSC Librarians may be available to collaborate with you in the planning, execution, and writing of comprehensive evidence synthesis studies. Eligible research teams do not incur costs as a result of collaborating with librarians for these studies.
Having a librarian on your team is recommended, or required, by many organizations that fund and oversee reviews. A librarian leads to higher quality search strategies and improves the quality of the review. UTSC librarians participate with the aim to improve the quality of evidence synthesis studies conducted at the university.
What do we mean by Knowledge Synthesis?
"the contextualization and integration of research findings of individual research studies within the larger body of knowledge on the topic. A synthesis must be reproducible and transparent in its methods, using quantitative and/or qualitative methods."
Although the term is strongly affiliated with the health sciences, Knowledge Synthesis includes systematic reviews, scoping reviews, rapid reviews, meta-analyses, realist reviews, living systematic reviews, narrative syntheses, practice guidelines, and other forms of published research analysis relevant across multiple disciplines. UTSC Librarians collaborate on Knowledge Syntheses projects with all departments at UTSC.
- Faculty members*
- Post-doctoral fellows*
- Currently enrolled students that are part of research teams
- Members of the public
- External students, faculty, researchers, research assistants
- Students completing assignments
- Systematic reviews
- Scoping reviews
- Rapid reviews
- Narrative reviews
- Any knowledge or evidence or protocol driven syntheses
UTSC Librarians collaborate with faculty on evidence synthesis-type reviews leading to original research, not for the purpose of assignments or course-related studies. Librarians don’t collaborate on the following as part of their work on Knowledge Synthesis:
- Background searches
- Student assignments
- Theses or dissertations
- Class projects
- Non-method or protocol driven syntheses
- In order to make best use of everyone's time and to keep the project moving, the Principal Investigator / Project Lead must apply to collaborate (by submitting this form), attend the consultations with the librarian, and maintain ongoing communications with the librarian.
- Due to the time-intensive nature of this work, and involvement in other projects, it is requested that teams communicate promptly with librarians so that progress on the project can begin and continue.
- Co-authorship should be granted to librarians who make a substantial contribution to the work, which they may choose to accept or decline.
- Assembled the team,
- Developed a draft protocol**, and
- Determined your eligibility to work with UTSC Librarians.
**Librarians are available if you need consultation on this process.
Your proposal will be reviewed and forwarded to the appropriate librarian. If the project moves forward, the following steps are usually followed:
A librarian will schedule an initial consultation with you to discuss your proposal. During the meeting, the suitability of your project will be determined and specific aspects of your project will be discussed, including:
- The research question and scope of review
- The search parameters (keywords, subject headings, limits, inclusion/exclusion criteria, etc.)
- Resources to be searched (databases, grey literature, etc.)
Within an agreed upon timeline, the librarian will develop an initial search strategy, finalize the list of resources, and request your feedback. This is an iterative process that can take several weeks, during which the search will be edited until it is suitable and an agreed upon process will take place. In some cases, the librarian may run or execute searches for you. In other cases, your team may take on this task, with the librarian providing guidance on: best practices for searching, downloading, and managing citations. If appropriate, the librarian can also advise on some dimensions of project management, including workflows, systems, and tools for screening and extraction.
If the librarian is participating in article writing, they can write sections relating to the search strategy (such as methodology) to be included in the manuscript. The librarian will write these sections to maximize the transparency and reproducibility of the search.
The librarian can also provide input on any keywords required for the manuscript submission process and help respond to peer review comments. Librarians can also provide guidance and resources to help you select potential journals to target for publication.
For a detailed list of what to expect, please consult the Roles and deliverables section.
Note: Due to the time-intensive nature of this work, librarians may only participate in a few projects at a time and may not be immediately available to join your project.
A librarian may require a specific timeline, the work may be reassigned to another librarian, or your request may be queued based on librarian workload. Note that you may propose a project that cannot be taken on by the library for multiple reasons.
The UTSC Library is committed to giving your project full consideration and the attention it deserves. Our goal is to follow established guidelines so that your work is successful. We define the roles and responsibilities of each party because this is critical for the project’s success.
|Stage||Principal Investigator's (PI) / Lead Responsibilities||Librarian's Responsibilities|
|Request and initial meeting||
|Final search and translations||
|Ongoing collaboration and manuscript writing||
Please ensure that you have read the Eligibility and parameters of collaboration.
You will receive a response from your liaison librarian as soon as possible. Note that times of the year and librarian workload may affect the speed with which you receive a response.
- You must be current a faculty member or post doctoral fellow at the University of Toronto Scarborough and the Principal Investigator or Project Lead to apply to collaborate with a UTSC Librarian.
- This service is for systematic reviews, scoping reviews, and other types of knowledge syntheses.
Note: Collaboration with UTSC Librarians is intended for evidence synthesis-type reviews leading to original research, not for the purpose of assignments or course-related studies. Students involved in assignment or course-related research can meet with a librarian for a consultation on how to conduct a comprehensive search of the literature.