We used the ‘Stirling literature review method’ to identify, collate and evaluate relevant literature to be synthesised. This incorporates systematic searches of a wide range of databases, filtering of results for relevance, and the use of a specially designed pro forma to systematically extract key information regarding the subject matter, results, and assess the quality of the research as reported.
In total, 37,031 papers were returned by the database searches. Examination of the paper titles by the review team identified 2,204 papers for abstract review. These papers were then scored on the basis of their title and abstract, identifying 130 papers to be read by the reviewers. The papers that were given a full text review were also assessed for their quality as evidence, taking into account their sample, research design, methods and presentation of results.
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