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Systematic reviews

A brief overview of systematic reviews and resources to support producing one.

Recording the search

Each database used should have the following information recorded:

  • Name of the database
  • The database provider e.g. Medline via EBSCOHost - Platform or vendor for electronic databases
  • When the search was run - the date and the year
  • Date range of the search strategy
  • The full strategy used.( It is preferable to reproduce the strategy with the minimum of editing. Removing the number of hits identified, for example, can introduce errors and hide genuine mistakes  (CRD Systematic Reviews handbook))

Example: see Documenting the search process

* It is also good practice to save a search strategy in the database so it can be re-run at a later stage. If it takes a long time to finalise the systematic review, over 6 months then a search update may be required.

Working with search results

Systematic searching will require the collection of whole sets of results from databases to be reviewed. Using reference management software such as Endnote can help with organising and maintaining the search results. This part of the process needs to be planned as much as any of the other steps because the results will go through a number of screening stages to remove irrelevant and duplicate results.

For information on accesing Endnote go the UQ Library Referencing software page.