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Systematic Review: 3. Document and managing search results

Searching - Step-by-step

Design search

Test and run search

Document

Documenting search results

It is important to keep good records of your final searches in each database so that your search process is transparent and reproducible. There are various ways of doing this.  

One method is to save copies of your search histories within each database. To do this you generally need to set up a free personal account in each relevant database - look for a link at the top of the main search page. Alternatively, you may choose to create a spreadsheet or search diary to record the details of your searches. EndNote can also help you keep track of what you have done.

When writing your review it is recommended that your search results are reported in a PRISMA flow diagram which is a graphical representation of the flow of citations reviewed in the course of a Systematic Review. The PRISMA Flow Diagram Generator is an Open Source online tool that may assist you in producing your PRISMA flow diagram.

Once you have completed your searches you can also choose to set up alerts so that you are notified of any new articles that match your query.

        Link to saved searches and alerts guide
        Document your searches - Excel workbook

Managing search results

Export all search results from your final searches to a bibliographic software package such as Endnote.

Alternatively you can choose to export results to a specialised tool such as Covidence.

 

     Guide to using save searches and email alerts in selected databases


 

          Exercise 6 - Searching and Documenting