Human-animal interactions (HAI) are being studied with increased frequency, evidenced by a steady increase in the number of published articles and the number of journals publishing them. Evidence synthesis methods like systematic review (SR) provide a stronger level of evidence than individual studies and are often used to inform practice guidelines. To ensure SR accuracy and reliability, they must follow rigorous, prescribed methodologies. Objectives: This study of HAI SRs was designed to determine the characteristics of HAI SRs in terms of publication patterns, human subjects, animal(s) of interest, and outcomes, and to answer: (Q1)Which methodological guideline was followed? Was a protocol written? Was the protocol registered? (Q2) Which databases were searched? Was an information professional consulted? (Q3) Were the database searches replicable? (Q4) Was grey literature included? (Q5) Were inclusion and exclusion criteria explicitly identified? How many researchers examined studies at each stage of screening? Methods: Thirteen bibliographic databases were searched for articles containing both an HAI-related term and an SR term. Authors screened 766 articles for relevance, and coded 110 articles for desired data. Results: Of 110 articles, 60 were published between 2019-2022. A majority of studies (79) referred to PRISMA and/or other methodological guidelines, while 40 made no reference to any guideline. Across all studies, 163 different databases were searched, with PubMed, PsycINFO, and CINAHL among the most frequently used. Only 20 studies referred to consultation with an information professional. A slight majority of studies (58) provided a full search strategy for at least one database. Most articles (74) did not include grey literature searches. Most articles (80) assessed included studies for quality or risk of bias (RoB). Conclusions: The publication of SRs in HAI research is increasing, and there is room for improvement in reporting among these publications.


evidence synthesis, systematic review, meta-analysis, human-animal interaction

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