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Systematic Reviews: Searching for systematic reviews

A guide to assist staff and students undertaking systematic reviews

Systematic Reviews

Prior to starting a systematic review you need to find out if a systematic review has been done or is under way. Checking registers, such as PROSPERO, is important in ensuring that you aren't repeating a review that has been done or registered.

Published reviews also provide a useful starting point for identifying studies in your area of research.

Some databases focus specifically on indexing evidence-based medicine, systematic reviews, etc. e.g. Cochrane databases

You can also search the larger subject databases such as MEDLINE, CINAHL, PsycINFO and limit the search to "systematic review". Some databases have a filter or limit option to limit the search to 'systematic review'.

It's also useful to search the large multidisciplinary citation databases Web of Science and Scopus, particularly if your research is cross-disciplinary.

Systematic Reviews and Registers

Many of the clinical trial registers include information about trials that are in progress as well as those that have been completed, for example:

  • CENTRAL, the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled trials
  • (a service of the U.S. National Institutes of Health)
  • ICTRP (the International Clinical Trials Registry Platform through WHO). Note that although is included in the WHO ICTRP portal, there are additional features in and hence both should be searched separately

Systematic reviews journals

Cochrane Library

Joanna Briggs Institute (JBI)

When using this Database it is best to select the MULTI-FIELD SEARCH Option

EPPI Centre

EPPI CentreEPPI-Centre is part of the Social Science Research Unit at the Institute of Education, University of London. It conducts systematic reviews across a range of topics and works with a large number of funders. 

Major areas include:

  • Education and social policy
  • Health promotion and public health
  • International health systems and development
  • Participative research and policy.

Full reviews can be found in the Centre’s online Evidence Library.

Campbell Collaboration


The Campbell Collaboration  is an international research network that produces systematic reviews of the effects of social interventions in education, crime and justice, social welfare and international development.

Published issues of Campbell systematic reviews:

Full reports are published online in the Campbell Library.