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Systematic Searching Support

Saving Searches

Keeping a record of final search strategies is an essential step. Accurate documentation enables accurate methods description, facilitating transparency and replicability of the search. Most database platforms offer an account feature, allowing the strategies to be saved. Saving all searches in the database platform is highly recommended, as it is common that missing or problematic terms are discovered early in screening process. If searches are saved in each database, it is easy to edit.

Documenting Searches

It is a good practice to document the search method for any type of review. However, it is required for systematic reviews, scoping reviews, and meta-analyses. Document the following during the search process:

  • databases and resources searched
  • exact search statements for each database, including any limits used (language, peer reviewed, etc)
  • who designed the search and how it was created
  • the date the search was conducted
  • the number of results for each database
  • notes on additional methods used, such as citing paper searches, grey literature sources, individual journals

Reporting Searches