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Evidence Synthesis Team Searching & Review Clinics: Frequently Asked Questions

Who can help with my query?

When booking an appointment you will need to state who you want to see.  In order to help you make that decision, here are some general areas that we can help with:

Information specialist – informing search strategies, using Endnote as your reference library, managing your references, searching databases effectively, using local resources.

Reviewer – developing your protocol, describing the systematic review process, guidance on screening, data extraction and quality assessment (critical appraisal) and synthesis.

Can I book more than one appointment at a time?

You may book a maximum of 2 appointments per clinic date: one with an Information Specialist and one with a Systematic Reviewer.  This decision has been taken to allow the team to handle ad hoc queries in as timely a manner as possible.  Additional appointments booked by, or on behalf of, the same person on any one day will be declined.  You may book follow-up appointments at future clinics: please check with the member of staff you see at your initial clinic appointment whether they would advise this.

I've made an appointment that I can't now attend.  How can I cancel it?

If you make an appointment and subsequently find you cannot attend, it would be appreciated if you could inform us as soon as possible, in order to free up the space for others or allow the team to utilise the time effectively elsewhere.  Please email, stating your name and the date and time of the appointment you wish to cancel.  Alternatively, if you have an Eventbrite account, you may cancel your own appointment by logging in, clicking on the relevant order on the Tickets page, and then selecting "Cancel Order" (please note that this option is not available in the mobile device view). 

We have sadly experienced a number of no-shows at recent clinics. We will henceforth be keeping a record of these, and colleagues who fail to attend appointments on three separate occasions (where there has been no order cancellation or email contact prior to the appointment time, or any subsequent explanation for the non-attendance) will be barred from making appointments at future clinics. 

I would like some advice on searching, but am not undertaking a systematic review.  May I book an appointment?

The clinics are specifically aimed at addressing systematic review-related queries.  If you are not planning to do a systematic review then a clinic appointment is unlikely to be the best use of your time, especially as there is often a significant wait for an available appointment. If you need general searching advice this can be obtained from either of the University libraries (PlymouthExeter). Exeter staff and students can book an appointment with the College of Medicine & Health Academic Liaison Librarian here.  There are also useful slides and information on the IS team and EST pages. Information on general searching skills can be found here.  There are answers to many of the common questions we help with in the clinics on our blog together with links to useful resources such as the Cochrane Handbook (chapters 5-12) and Centre for Reviews and Dissemination.

The clinic dates displayed on the website are not convenient for me.  Can I book an appointment outside these times?

The clinics were established in order to help to manage the large number of ad hoc queries the Evidence Synthesis Team receives.  Regrettably, therefore, we cannot accept appointments other than at the designated times set aside for this.  Depending on the nature of your enquiry, the team may occasionally be able to provide you with some advice by email during the time allocated for a clinic, although this will not be practicable in every case: please email to enquire.  A face-to-face appointment is always recommended where possible.

What are my transport/parking options?

Clinics will be held either in South Cloisters at the University of Exeter's St Luke's Campus, or in the ITTC Building at Plymouth Science Park, unless otherwise advertised.  

South Cloisters: Please click here for directions and travel information: South Cloisters is marked no. 11 on the St Luke's Campus map.  Please note that visitor parking at St Luke's is extremely limited: we suggest that visitors staying for less than 4 hours use the Triangle pay-and-display car park, or the short-term on-street parking available in the following nearby roads: College Road; Spicer Road; Denmark Road; Athelstan Road; Barnfield Hill.  Please observe the distinction between resident-only spaces and public spaces if parking in one of these areas.

Plymouth Science Park: Please click here for directions and travel information. A map of the Science Park can be found here.  On arrival, please report to the main Reception, marked 1 on the map, and ask to be directed to Room N14/PenARC offices.  There is limited parking for visitors to Plymouth Science Park at point A; please register your car at the Reception Desk.  It is recommended that visitors use the Park and Ride service to Derriford Hospital if at all possible.

Who can I contact with any questions about the booking process?

Please email PenARC.

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