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Trinity College Dublin, The University of Dublin

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Doing a Systematic Review

A concise guide to the steps involved in systematic, scopic and related reviews

Running and recording your search

Example of a search history showing searches in sets and combining themIt is very important to keep an accurate record of your searches so that they can be included in your report, enabling someone to reproduce them if necessary. This is also needed for you to be able to reproduce the search, if you need to run an update at a later time.

  • Build up each search in steps
  • Make a note of your keywords (generally, the ones you use in the title/abstract or "topic" fields) in a Word document. You can then paste these into the different databases and ensure your searches are the same
  • Keep a record of the date you searched, the name of the database, and the platform
  • Register with the databases so that you can access your search strategy, combine searches, and save them
  • You may want to set up alerts using your search strategy so that you are notified of any new papers relevant to your review

Find examples of existing search strategies

You can find details of search strategies others have used by looking at previous examples of systematic reviews. Select from the following sites: