Systematic searching requires a set of skills and techniques that you may not have encountered in your previous research. In addition to guiding you to key databases and other sources of information, these pages offers some tips on systematic search methods.
The search process for your systematic review might look something like this:
Conducting some preliminary, non-systematic searches on your topic will help you to:
When you are ready to conduct your systematic search, consider the following process:
In addition to these core health sciences databases, consider searching databases outside of the health sciences that might be relevant to your topic. Consult Dalhousie Libraries' subject guides to learn more about resources for other disciplines:
The ideal first step in the systematic review process is to see if other reviews have been published on your topic, or if relevant research is in the process of being completed. Existing systematic reviews and protocols can be found in the following places:
You can also use search filters to locate systematic reviews in other databases.
Not all databases use the same syntax. When translating a search strategy from one database to another, you will have to make some changes to get comparable results. This video demonstrates how to translate a search strategy from PubMed to CINAHL and Embase.
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The video below shows the process of translating a final search from MEDLINE Ovid to the Cochrane Library, including changes to search syntax. This video was created by librarians at the Gerstein Science Information Centre at the University of Toronto. There have been some changes in the layout of the Cochrane Library since this video was made, but the search functions are the same.