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University of Washington Health Sciences Library

Systematic Reviews and other evidence synthesis projects

Keep track of your searches

Plan for success by keeping track of your searches!
  1. You may need to re-run your search close to publication in order to identify newer articles.
  2. You will need to report, at a minimum, your search strategy in your article. The publisher may also require that you provide your full search string for at least one database.
  3. You may wish to make all your search strings available as supplemental material. 

Document Your Search Strategies

Keep track of your searching process in your preferred word-processing program. This will make it much easier to write your review. The better records you keep during this phase, the less stressful it will be to write your methods and results sections.

For your search in each database, record:

  • database name and platform (Example: CINAHL Complete on EBSCOhost; Embase on Elsevier)
  • date the search was run
  • years covered in the search
  • exact search strategy used, including any filters
  • number of records retrieved

Write Up your Search Methods

These resources provide guidance for how to report and write up your search process, including searches for grey literature.

For additional models of search methodology reporting, refer to see other guidelines in Guides for Conducting Systematic Reviews.

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