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Systematic Review

Criteria

Occasionally, MISS may publish Systematic Review articles with or without meta-analysis. Systematic Reviews are critical assessments of the literature and data sources, focused on a topic that concerns the use and analysis of measurement instruments in the social sciences. MISS may occasionally consider Systematic Review articles if they pertain to specific measurement instruments, or a family of measurement instruments, emphasizing quality indicators such as objectivity of tools, reliability estimates, construct validity, factorial validity/measurement model, predictive validity, or fairness/comparability/equivalence across groups. If combined with meta-analysis, they must include a statistical technique for quantitatively combining the results of multiple studies that measure the same outcome into a single pooled or summary estimate.

Systematic Reviews should address a specific question or open issue that is relevant for measurement practice and provide an evidence-based, balanced, method-oriented review on a focused topic in the use and analysis of measurement instruments in the social sciences. All articles or data sources should be searched for and selected systematically for inclusion and critically evaluated, and the search and selection process should be described in the manuscript. The specific type of study or analysis, population, study design, context of data collection, and tests or outcomes should be described for each article or data source. The data sources should be as current as possible, ideally with the search having been conducted within several months of manuscript submission. Typical examples for reviews of an individual measurement instrument are Eriksson & Lindström (2005) and Golley et al. (2017). For a review of a family of measurement instruments, please see Optiz, Heene,  & Fischer (2017). Typical meta-analytical examples that concern reliability generalization and factorial validity are Thompson & Cook, 2002Worley, Vassar, Wheeler, & Barnes, 2008 and Botella, Suero, & Gambara, 2010. Authors are asked to observe recommendations for systematic reviews and meta-analyses for social research and follow EQUATOR Reporting Guidelines such as PRISMA or MARS/JARS.

Review articles provide comprehensive and authoritative coverage of a topic area. Key aims of reviews are to provide systematic and substantial coverage of mature subjects related to measurement and measurement instruments, evaluations of measurement progress in specified areas, and/or critical assessments of scales and tests, or existing and emerging methodology.

This type of Review articles differs by the scope and level of analysis of the literature searches and the titles used. An assessment of quality of the evidence before integrating the evidence and advising on any scientific measurement instrument, test method and general methodology is recommended.

Systematic Reviews / Meta-Analyses reflect on the quality of specific measurement instruments, alternatively on the quality of a family of measurement tools. Use of this article type requires a complete systematic search of the literature using multiple databases, covering many years, and grading of the quality of the cited evidence.

MISS strongly encourages that all datasets on which the conclusions of the paper rely should be available to readers. We encourage authors to ensure that their datasets are either deposited in publicly available repositories (where available and appropriate) or presented in the main manuscript or additional supporting files whenever possible. Please see Springer Nature’s information on recommended repositories.

Maximum length (as a rule of thumb): 5000 words of text (not including abstract, tables, figures, acknowledgments, references, and online-only material), with no more than a total of five tables and/or figures. The subtitle should include the phrase "A Systematic Review," alternatively "A Meta-Analysis."

Double-blind peer review

Please note: Measurement Instruments for the Social Sciences operates double-blind peer review. The following information should not be included in the main manuscript file, but should instead be uploaded as part of the covering letter:

  • Title page
  • Competing interests
  • Authors’ contributions
  • Acknowledgements
  • Authors’ information

Preparing your manuscript

The information below details the section headings that you should include in your manuscript and what information should be within each section.

Please note that your manuscript must include a 'Declarations' section including all of the subheadings (please see below for more information).

Title page

The title page should:

  • present a title that includes, if appropriate, the study design
  • list the full names and institutional addresses for all authors​​​​​​​
    • if a collaboration group should be listed as an author, please list the Group name as an author. If you would like the names of the individual members of the Group to be searchable through their individual PubMed records, please include this information in the “Acknowledgements” section in accordance with the instructions below
  • indicate the corresponding author

Abstract

The Abstract of the manuscript should not exceed 350 words and must be structured into separate sections:

  • Background: the context and purpose of the review, including the review question.
  • Methods: how the review was performed, including data sources, study eligibility criteria, participants and interventions; study appraisal and statistical tests used.
  • Results: the main findings, including results of search and assessment of evidence base.
  • Conclusions: brief summary and potential implications for policy/management and research.
  • Registration: authors are asked to provide registration information about the systematic review, including a registration number, if available.

Keywords

Three to ten keywords representing the main content of the article.

Background

This section should be written in a way that is accessible to researchers without specialist knowledge in that area and must clearly explain why a systematic review on this topic was needed and what it aimed to contribute to the field. The section should end with the main question(s) of the review and a brief statement of what is being reported with reference to participants, interventions, outcomes and study design (PICO).

You may also wish to use this section to mention discussions that have been organized with stakeholders and the role of stakeholders in the formulation of the question should be described and explained.

Methods

This should include a clear description of all stages of the review process and the design of the review, the setting, the type of participants or materials involved, and the type of analysis, including:

  • Searches: search terms and languages, comprehensiveness and effectiveness of the search, search strings and/or combinations of searches, databases, searches for grey literature i.e. contacts, searches on internet, use of specific search terms or strings, filtering or limitations and literature provided directly by stakeholders. Tables and lists of bibliographies, search terms and databases or other information can be provided as additional files.
  • Study inclusion and exclusion criteria: provide explanation about the rationale followed to include/exclude articles, including specific study characteristics (PICO, length of follow-up, etc), specific report characteristics (year of publication, language, etc) and study selection procedures (screening).
  • Potential effect modifiers and reasons for heterogeneity: potential effect modifiers and reasons for heterogeneity should be discussed here and should be identified by discussions with stakeholders and experts as early as possible.
  • Study quality assessment: how you are planning to or have assessed the study quality. Describe the methods used for assessing risk of bias of individual studies, including specification of whether this was done at the study or outcome level, and how this information was used in any data synthesis. Discussions with experts and stakeholders at early stages should help identify the methodological standards for the topic of interest.
  • Data extraction strategy: what sort of data do you expect to find or have finally extracted and how you computed effect sizes and their variability.
  • Data synthesis and presentation: report the qualitative and quantitative methods you used to synthesize and present the data, as well as elements you anticipate or have identified such as effect modifiers, type of methodologies and their current appraisal, biases etc. Describe any additional analyses (sensitivity, sub-group analysis, meta-analysis) done and indicate which were pre-specified.

For an example of how a search strategy should be presented, see the Cochrane Reviewer's Handbook.

If existing, make reference to an accessible review protocol. Authors are additionally asked to provide registration information about the systematic review, including a registration number, if available.

Results and discussion

The results and discussion should be presented separately. The results and discussion sections may also be broken into subsections with short, informative headings. Results of each stage of the review should be clearly reported, including:

  • Review statistics: i.e. the number of articles found in the search and included at each inclusion/exclusion level, along with any relevant information on the distribution of the studies found (e.g. geographical location and source of study). A flow diagram (conforming to relevant reporting guidelines e.g. PRISMA) reporting the inclusion/exclusion process should be presented.
  • Study quality assessment: a summary of what the different studies found, the confidence in the results of the different studies, what biases were present in each of the studies, and quality of the different studies needs to be included.
  • Quantitative synthesis/Meta-analysis (when possible): if effect sizes can be calculated for the included studies which measure similar outcomes then a quantitative assessment of these effect sizes should be carried out, including summary statistics of the mean effect, confidence in the mean, the range of effects and sources of heterogeneity in the effect. Please note, if there are a large number of confounding variables or outcome measures such that effect sizes which measure the same outcome cannot be calculated then a summary statistic should not be calculated.
  • Evidence of effectiveness: a detailed evaluation of the information on the impact of the intervention that the papers give, what evidence of an effect is there and what is the strength of the evidence including the critical appraisal of the articles. In addition, there needs to be an unbiased assessment of what level of evidence the studies provide.

Speculation within the discussion section should be limited only to suggestions for further enquiry or analysis e.g. potential reasons for heterogeneity in outcome, including the possible effect modifiers and impact of variation in the study variables such as experimental design. A section on review limitations should normally be included, including limitations due to the search strategy and bias in articles found, as well as limitations due to underlying bias within studies found such as baseline bias and confounding variables. Gaps in the information provided by the studies should also be highlighted.

Conclusions

This should state clearly the main conclusions of the article and give a clear explanation of the implication for policy/management summarizing the state of the evidence base and the extent to which this informs decision making in relation to the review question and any measure of uncertainty surrounding the outcome. In addition, it should also provide a clear explanation on the implication for research summarizing the shortcomings of the current evidence base in terms of knowledge gaps and the need for primary research.

List of abbreviations

If abbreviations are used in the text they should be defined in the text at first use, and a list of abbreviations should be provided.

Declarations

All manuscripts must contain the following sections under the heading 'Declarations':

  • Availability of data and materials
  • Competing interests
  • Funding
  • Authors' contributions
  • Acknowledgements
  • Authors' information (optional)

Please see below for details on the information to be included in these sections.

If any of the sections are not relevant to your manuscript, please include the heading and write 'Not applicable' for that section.

Availability of data and materials

For all journals, BioMed Central strongly encourages all datasets on which the conclusions of the manuscript rely to be either deposited in publicly available repositories (where available and appropriate) or presented in the main paper or additional supporting files, in machine-readable format (such as spreadsheets rather than PDFs) whenever possible. Please see the list of recommended repositories in our editorial policies.

For some journals, deposition of the data on which the conclusions of the manuscript rely is an absolute requirement. Please check the Criteria section for this article type (located at the top of this page) for journal specific policies.

For all journals, authors must include an “Availability of data and materials” section in their article detailing where the data supporting their findings can be found. If you do not wish to share your data, please state that data will not be shared, and state the reason.

For instructions on how to cite your data and format this section see preparation/style and formatting.

If you wish to co-submit a data note describing your data to be published in BMC Research Notes, you can do so by visiting our submission portal. Data notes support open data and help authors to comply with funder policies on data sharing. Co-published data notes will be linked to the research article the data support (example).

Competing interests

All financial and non-financial competing interests must be declared in this section. See our editorial policies for a full explanation of competing interests. If you are unsure whether you or any of your co-authors have a competing interest please contact the editorial office.

Funding

All sources of funding for the research reported should be declared. The role of the funding body in the design of the study and collection, analysis, and interpretation of data and in writing the manuscript should be declared.

Authors' contributions

The individual contributions of authors to the manuscript should be specified in this section.

Acknowledgements

Please acknowledge anyone who contributed towards the article who does not meet the criteria for authorship including anyone who provided professional writing services or materials.

Authors should obtain permission to acknowledge from all those mentioned in the Acknowledgements section.

See our editorial policies for a full explanation of acknowledgements and authorship criteria.

Group authorship: if you would like the names of the individual members of a collaboration Group to be searchable through their individual PubMed records (where applicable), please ensure that the title of the collaboration Group is included on the title page and in the submission system and also include collaborating author names as the last paragraph of the “Acknowledgements” section. Please add authors in the format First Name, Middle initial(s) (optional), Last Name. You can add institution or country information for each author if you wish, but this should be consistent across all authors.

Authors' information

You may choose to use this section to include any relevant information about the author(s) that may aid the reader's interpretation of the article, and understand the standpoint of the author(s). This may include details about the authors' qualifications, current positions they hold at institutions or societies, or any other relevant background information. Please refer to authors using their initials. Note this section should not be used to describe any competing interests.

Footnotes

Footnotes should be designated within the text using a superscript number. It is not allowed to use footnotes for references/citations.

References

Examples of the American Psychological Association (APA) reference style are shown below. For further guidance, see the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association and the respective web site of the Association (http://www.apastyle.org/).

See our editorial policies for author guidance on good citation practice.

Web links and URLs: All web links and URLs, including links to the authors' own websites, should be given a reference number and included in the reference list rather than within the text of the manuscript. They should be provided in full, including both the title of the site and the URL, as well as the date the site was accessed, in the following format: The Mouse Tumor Biology Database. http://tumor.informatics.jax.org/mtbwi/index.do. Accessed 20 May 2013. If an author or group of authors can clearly be associated with a web link, such as for weblogs, then they should be included in the reference.

Example reference style:

Article within a journal

Harris, M., Karper, E., Stacks, G., Hoffman, D., DeNiro, & R., Cruz, P. (2001). Writing labs and the Hollywood connection. Journal of Film Writing, 44(3), 213-245.

Article by DOI (with page numbers)

Slifka, M.K., & Whitton, J.L. (2000). Clinical implications of dysregulated cytokine production. Journal of Molecular Medicine, 78(2), 74-80. doi:10.1007/s001090000086.

Article by DOI (before issue publication and without page numbers)

Kreger, M., Brindis, C.D., Manuel, D.M., & Sassoubre, L. (2007). Lessons learned in systems change initiatives: benchmarks and indicators. American Journal of Community Psychology. doi: 10.1007/s10464-007-9108-14.

Article in electronic journal by DOI (no paginated version)

Kruger, M., Brandis, C.D., Mandel, D.M., & Sassoure, J. (2007). Lessons to be learned in systems change initiatives: benchmarks and indicators. American Journal of Digital Psychology. doi: 10.1007/s10469-007-5108-14.

Complete book

Calfee, R.C., & Valencia, R.R. (1991). APA guide to preparing manuscripts for journal publication. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.

Book chapter, or an article within a book

O'Neil, J.M., & Egan, J. (1992). Men's and women's gender role journeys: Metaphor for healing, transition, and transformation. In B.R. Wainrib (Ed.), Gender issues across the life cycle (pp. 107-123). New York: Springer.

Online First chapter in a series (without a volume designation but with a DOI)

Saito, Y., & Hyuga, H. (2007). Rate equation approaches to amplification of enantiomeric excess and chiral symmetry breaking. Topics in Current Chemistry. doi:10.1007/128_2006_108.

Complete book, also showing a translated edition [Either edition may be listed first.]

Adorno, T.W. (1966). Negative Dialektik. Frankfurt: Suhrkamp. English edition: Adorno, TW (1973). Negative Dialectics (trans: Ashton, E.B.). London: Routledge.

Online document

Abou-Allaban, Y., Dell, M.L., Greenberg, W., Lomax, J., Peteet, J., Torres, M., & Cowell, V. (2006). Religious/spiritual commitments and psychiatric practice. Resource document. American Psychiatric Association. http://www.psych.org/edu/other_res/lib_archives/archives/200604.pdf. Accessed 25 June 2007.

Online database

German emigrants database (1998). Historisches Museum Bremerhaven. http://www.deutsche-auswanderer-datenbank.de. Accessed 21 June 2007.

Supplementary material/private homepage

Doe, J. (2006). Title of supplementary material. http://www.privatehomepage.com. Accessed 22 Feb 2007.

FTP site

Doe, J. (1999). Trivial HTTP, RFC2169. ftp://ftp.isi.edu/in-notes/rfc2169.txt. Accessed 12 Feb 2006.

Organization site

ISSN International Centre (2006). The ISSN register. http://www.issn.org. Accessed 20 Feb 2007.

Figures, tables and additional files

See General formatting guidelines for information on how to format figures, tables and additional files.

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