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Systematic Review: 3. Document and managing search results

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.  

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.

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. If used correctly EndNote can also help you keep track of what you have done.


     Link to saved searches and alerts guide 

     Document your searches - Excel workbook

      Reviewing retrieved references for inclusion in systematic reviews using EndNote 

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