This part of the website is about the tools used to support EPPI Centre systematic reviews. These tools have been developed to assist with the practical aspects of systematic mapping and research synthesis. 

The main types of tool are:

  • Guidelines tools (i) detailed sets of questions for coding at keywording and data-extraction for mapping and synthesis of primary research; and (ii) guidelines for the reporting of primary research (which then assists with coding for systematic reviews)
  • Data management tools – structures and tools for downloading, storing and managing information on studies used in the reviews
  • EPPI Reviewer – the EPPI Centre’s online tool for research synthesis
  • MetaLight – which supports the teaching and learning of meta-analysis
  • CCEMG-EPPI Centre Cost Converter – a tool for assisting with currency conversion.

In addition to these tools, reviewers may find some of the databases that the EPPI Centre holds useful resources for conducting systematic research synthesis. Links to these can be found on the Databases page.

Finally, Using Research for Effective Health Promotion is a book which contains details of some of our research methods.

Guideline tools for keywording and data extraction

Currently the EPPI Centre has a number guidelines for assisting with the Keywording and Data Extraction stages of reviews. The guidelines provide information on standardised strategies for coding the reports of primary studies included in reviews. 

Examples of coding guidelines in education include:

The EPPI Centre has also produced a standardised strategy for keywording health promotion research. Please contact the EPPI Centre for further information about any of these tools.

In addition to guidelines for coding information from primary research, there are also guidelines for reporting primary research. The EPPI Centre has developed the 'REPOSE' guidelines outlining the types of information that are needed to be included in reports of primary research in education. These primary research guidelines make it clearer to the reader what research was undertaken and thus also assists the process of coding studies for systematic reviews. Click here for more information.

Data management tools

Systematic research synthesis requires researchers to search for and identify a large body of studies that may be relevant to a review (see the Databases page in this site for links to reference searching facilities). Reviewers will then need to download references for these studies into some references manager software such as EndNote or Reference Manager. Once the references have been downloaded they will need to be screened for relevance to the review. Lastly these studies will go through a process of being coded and assessed. Managing all this information is often a very difficult task. The EPPI Centre has developed some tools for assisting reviewers to manage this process.

EPPI Reviewer

EPPI Reviewer is a web application that enables researchers to manage the entire lifecyle of a review in a single location. Users are able to upload studies for screening, complete keywording and data extractions and analyse the results over the internet. The newest version of the program is EPPI-Reviewer Web. Full details of the program and its capabilities is available on the EPPI-Reviewer gateway. A free one month trial can be set up at this site via our Account Manager.

If you already have an account, EPPI-Reviewer Web can be accessed by clicking here.

The previous version, EPPI-Reviewer 4, can be accessed here.

EPPI-Reviewer 3 is still accessible  while further information about it can be found here. A conference poster from 2006 that describes some of its earlier development is available online.

RIS Export

The RIS EXPORT utility will take your search result file and return an RIS formatted text file that can be imported into most reference management software including EPPI-Reviewer 4. To use the utility, upload your search result file and select a filter based on the format of the file. There are hundreds of filters available for many different formats of file.

The RIS EXPORT utility can be found on the 'EPPI-Reviewer 4 gateway' here


MetaLight is a software application designed to support the teaching and learning of meta-analysis. It is freely available and, as it uses the Silverlight browser plugin, can be run on just about any PC, thus facilitating its use in teaching environments such as PC labs.

CCEMG-EPPI Centre Cost Converter

As part of a collaboration between the Campbell & Cochrane Economics Methods Group and the EPPI Centre, we have recently published online a web-based tool that will adjust estimates of cost expressed in one currency and price year to another target currency and price year. The tool uses up to date data from the OECD and IMF. A paper describing its development and methods can be found in: Shemilt I, Thomas J, Morciano M (2010) A web-based tool for adjusting costs to a specific target currency and price year. Evidence and Policy 6 (1) 51-59.

Automation for discovery of inequalities research

Finding Accessible Inequalities Research in Public Health (the FAIR Database)

This work has been developing methods to apply machine learning and Natural Language Processing approaches to support the review, assessment, evaluation and summarisation of large volumes of public health research to support decision making. We have developed and applied automatic methods for identifying information about inequalities, study types and common themes mentioned within large volumes of public health research.

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