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University of Washington Health Sciences Library

Systematic Reviews (SR)

Database Search Tips and Filters

Find published reviews on similar topics, and read methods sections which may contain exact search strategies used. Full search strategies often are provided in appendices of Cochrane reviews.

See HSL Database Searching Guides

or Help sections of specific databases for search examples.

PubMed Help

ISSG Search Filters Resource (InterTASC Information Specialists' Sub-Group) Collaborative venture to identify, assess and test search filters designed to retrieve research by study design or focus.

MedTerm Search Assist  U Pittsburg librarians' database to share biomedical terminology and strategies for comprehensive searches.

SIGN search filters Search filters developed by the Scottish Intercollegiate Guidelines Network.

Search filters page - University of Texas School of Public Health Library

Center for Evidence-based Management (CEBMa) methodological search filters for social and organizational sciences research databases

Search Builder 1.0, Excel-based tool to generate, archive, and share search strings for PubMed and Embase. Kamdar BB, Pooja AS. A novel search builder to expedite search strategies for systematic reviews. International Journal of Technology Assessment in Health Care. 2015: 31; 1-3.

SRA-DM tool. Rathbone J, Carter M, Hoffmann T, Glasziou P. Better duplicate detection for systematic reviewers: evaluation of Systematic Review Assistant-Deduplication ModuleSyst Rev. 2015 Jan 14;4:6. doi: 10.1186/2046-4053-4-6. PubMed PMID: 25588387

Yale MeSH Analyzer - tool to create search strategies. Gather MeSH terms from articles and display common and unique terms in Excel.

Embase  search tip

  • To eliminate PubMed/Medline citations from an Embase search, enter:
    (your search strategy) AND [embase]/lim NOT [medline]/lim

Grey Literature Part I - UBC Health Library
Grey Literature Part II - UBC Health Library

Grey Matters - (CADTH) "a practical tool for searching health-related grey literature"

McMaster University evidence search hedges

Family Physicians Inquiries Network (FPIN) PubMed search filters for studies related to diagnosis, diagnostic testing, therapy and prognosis.

Report Search Methods and Assess Results

Write Up Search Methods

See Appendix 3: Documenting the Search Process in Systematic Reviews: CRD's guidance for undertaking reviews in health care. Centre for Reviews and Dissemination. January 2009.

Tool for Building a PRISMA Search Flow Diagram - from University of Toronto

See Guides for Conducting Systematic Reviews for additional models of search methodology reporting, from PRISMA, Cochrane Manual and others.

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