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Table 3 Identified strengths and weaknesses of the software

From: Software tools to support title and abstract screening for systematic reviews in healthcare: an evaluation





Supporting Quotations


Supporting Quotations


Simple and easy to use. (6)

“So easy to use..”

“Very simple to import and export.”

Too much content on the side panel. (2)

“I don’t think the sections of the left side of the screen are helpful”

“<it suggests> keywords to include/exclude - it means you have to start by deleting theirs”


Flexible/provides many options. (3)

“..there might be many things you could do with DRAGON...”

“..lots of flexibility in the set-up…”

Hard to setup (compared to other tools). (6)

“Quite complicate initially to set up..”

“Not clear how to set up and use.”


Simple option for “basic” screening. (5)

“..simple screening method…”

“Easy to set-up and do basic screening.”

Poor quality user interface. (3)

“ felt a bit clunky..”

“Not a very professional website…”

Good for collaborating. (2)

“...flexible in terms of team working”

“Good options for collaborative projects”

Format of exported citations. (2)

“Exporting not as clear format as Covidence or Rayyan.”

“..0 or − 1 as identifiers of exclude are ambiguous..”


Could be useful in large/ complex projects with multiple stages. (3)

“ could be helpful with all stages of the review.”

“good coding elements … < for>..a very large review”

Complex, difficult (not intuitive) to use. (5)

“Makes the screening very cumbersome.”

“Very bad layout that is not self-explanatory.”


Difficulties getting started. (2a)

“Difficult to access and start using…”

“Had to install software and use internet explorer.”


Instructions/help section. (2)

“..needed to watch a slow video for instructions.”

“Could not find help section/tutorial.”


Easy to use, good user interface. (3)

“Simple user interface…”

“.. - very clear and simple, not too much information on the page.”

Issues with help section. (2)

“ clear help function

“…videos in help section didn’t have subtitles …difficult to use if no volume/in office”

Able to export into many formats. (2)

“ to export citations and decisions into Excel and < reference managers>“

“...ability to export as .ris or .csv …”


Supports PRISMA flow diagram (and other extra features). (3)

“...ability to generate PRIMSA flowchart…”

“Some of the extra features are nice (e.g. …generate a PRISMA diagram)...”



Easy to use/good interface. (3)

“…aesthetically pleasing <the interface>… and simple to use.”

“Simple user interface…”

Required to provide exclusion reason at title and abstract stage. (2)

“…you have to give a reason for exclusion at title and abstract stage…”

“..having to include a reason for all exclusions”

Easy to import citations. (2)

“Simple to import.”

“...easy to import…”

Slow processing of decisions (especially excluded citations). (4)

“…a little slow to respond…”

“...excluded citations not disappearing…”

  1. Identified themes from the free text comments by survey respondents regarding the strengths and weaknesses of each tool for T&Ab screening. In each case the number of respondents who identified the theme is indicated (themes identified by four or more respondents are in bold). Indicative quotations are provided for each theme
  2. aOnly five of the six respondents were able to use – and give responses for – EPPI-reviewer